Unyts is paying tribute to our heroes of organ, eye and tissue donation. It seemed fitting to call this new endeavour “Honoring our Heroes”. We know that for the families of these donors, they really are heroes, and we certainly feel the same way.
We are truly honored to share these very touching personal stories each month. If you would like to honor a hero, please read below.
The month of March, we honor …
From the time she was a little girl, Tinna was a little chatterbox. She would not be quiet from the time she got up till she went to bed. When she started kindergarten, we would get notes home all the time saying how talkative she was. Her teacher called her a little social butterfly. She would go from desk to desk talking to people.
When she was four, she went through the “why” stage. Everything was “why?” My answer was always because. That never satisfied her. So as she kept asking, I would ask her, why do you want to know? When she was a little girl, she loved to watch Barney, The Rugrats and The Big Comfy Couch. She would sit at her little yellow desk and have breakfast. She loved to play outside with her red wagon, sandbox and her little pool. Her uncle Steve would take her for rides on his 4 wheeler. Her grandma Joanie remembers a funny story that happened when she took Tinna to the grocery store. She picked up an eggplant and told Tinna what it was, and Tinna replied, “where is the egg?”. It’s a story that they laughed about for years.
There are so many memories. I think my favorite memory is the day she called me mommy. I will never forget it. She was four and I had her sitting on the counter. I forget what we were doing but out of the blue, she asked if she could call me mommy. We were in the middle of a custody fight and she was living with us. I looked at her and said “do you want to call me mommy?” and she said “yes”. I said yes you can, and from that day on I was her mommy. For 15 wonderful years I was her mommy. She was 19 and still called me mommy.
There was another time when I was pregnant with her sister Sabrina. We were living in an upper apartment and my husband worked for a furniture company. I here this noise coming up the stairs. He opens the door and she has this huge dresser. I asked him who it was for and he said Bubba. That’s what he called Tinna. It was late and she was sleeping. I had to get her out of bed and put her in our bed so he could set it up for her. She got up the next day and let out a bid squeal. She thought it was the most beautiful thing. We said it was her big girl dresser. She felt so special.
She also helped name her sister Sabrina. We had the name all picked out. At the time, Rosie O’Donnell had her talk show on and Tinna just loved to watch it. One day we were watching it and she said, mommy, if the baby is a girl, can we name her Rosie? She was 6 at the time. We wanted her to feel like she was a part of the pregnancy so I said, “honey, we already have a name picked out”. She was so disappointed. I said, let me talk to daddy and see what we can do. Sabrina’s name is now Sabrina Elizabeth Rose Diebel.
One day, I believe it was around 2007 or 2008, my uncle and his then fiancé brought over three cans of whipped cream for the girls to have a whipped cream war with. They had a blast. Tinna and Sabrina went after each other like crazy and little Caitlyn was trying to keep up with them. They had cream all over them but they had so much fun. Tinna loved to play dress up with her sisters. They even had special tea parties at the dining room table.
Tinna loved to have fun, especially at school dances. Tinna and her friend Theresa would be the first to run out to the dance floor and get everyone else to start dancing too. Theresa remembers going to the playground after school with friends, taking pictures and just having fun. Tinna would climb up the rock wall and just stare up at the sky, thinking, “I wonder what it’s like up there.” We know that Tinna is up there, an angel watching over us.
She enjoyed visits to her grandparents in South Carolina. Her Papa Jim and Grandma Joanie will always cherish their time together with Tinna and her sisters, visiting the beach, candystore and art gallery.
Our beautiful daughter Tinna was just 19 years old when she died. She was a sweet, caring, outgoing girl who didn’t have a mean bone in her body. She never realized how many people truly loved her. She was taken from us on November 14, 2009. She died due to head trauma she received the night before when she was struck by a car while crossing the street while she was walking home from work. In January of 2009, she graduated early from high school, a goal that she had set for herself. In July of 2009, she started dating a boy from high school. She said he was the love of her life. Things were going so well for her. She had a job that she loved, she had finally found a great guy and she was going to attend college that fall to be a teacher. She finally found something that she wanted to do with the rest of her life. She found she loved working with kids. She started working at a daycare in Jan 2009 and fell in love with the kids. She wasn’t expecting to like it as much as she did. She wanted to be a reading teacher.
At home, Tinna was the oldest of 3 girls. At the time of her death, her sisters were 12 and 8. She loved her family so much. No one could hurt her sisters. She truly was their “big sister”. She was always there for anyone when they needed her. She had so many friends. She was always on the phone listening to their problems and helping them out. When Tinna got her driver’s permit, she made the decision all on her own to be an organ donor. Her thoughts were when she did die, she wasn’t going to need them anymore so why not give them to someone who needs them. When the doctors told us that she was not going to make it, the decision was a no brainer. We had to go along with her wishes. The people from UNYTS were so kind and caring. They knew what a terrible time it was for us. I know we made the right decision. There are so many people who got a second chance at life because of our daughter who made the decision to donate.
*If you would like to nominate a hero of organ, eye or tissue donation, please fill out a form (click here). We will be sharing these stories each month on Unyts blog and on our Donor Family Services page.