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Anthony, Liver and Kidney Donor

When Michael Shelby’s husband Anthony passed away unexpectedly of a brain aneurysm, he didn’t hesitate to carry out his final wish, which was to be an organ donor. “We had been together for 30 years. I expected us to grow old and live out our full lives together,” he said. “He and I had talked about what to do if something were to happen, I knew his wishes were to become an organ donor.” 

When the inevitable moment came and Shelby was given the devastating news, he said yes to organ donation and Anthony was able to donate life-saving gifts to three adults, including his liver and both kidneys. “The decision on my part was not that tough because we both had discussed it and believed it was the right thing to do.”

“It touched me because the recipients were all his age or older,” Shelby added. “It made me feel good to know a little part of him will be living on and helping somebody stay connected with their loved ones.”

The process also dispelled a common misconception for them both. “As gay males, I didn’t know we could donate,” he said. “Many LGBTQ+ individuals are not aware that they can be donors. And they assured me that there’s nothing that would prevent Anthony from being an organ donor because of his sexual orientation.”

Ultimately, it was their desire to help others that made them want to explore organ donation. And Shelby says he would encourage anyone else to do the same. “Why not? You could help someone,” he said. “This gift of love from you could be a life-saving event for someone else.”

Although they did not get to live out their full lives together, Shelby knows that because of his husband’s generosity, his spirit lives on. “Even living a somewhat full life does not prevent organs from giving life to others. The body is truly a marvelous thing.”

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