One donor's story: Nicholas (Nick) Just
Nick was born on May 14,1972, which was Mothers Day. Nick enjoyed life, laughed often and loved deeply. He was a plumber by profession and loved the challenge of the most complicated dirty job.He was an avid baseball player. As a boy he was a little leaguer who played many positions. Baseball was his game. The Chicago White Sox were his team. He enjoyed visiting the various ball parks and watching them play on television. Nick’s other passion was fishing. His parents owned a lake home “with an open door policy”. Nick took every opportunity to fish from the family pontoon boat where he tried to reel in the prize catch of the day. He also enjoyed eating his catch.
Generosity was one of Nick’s greatest assets during his life and it has continued on after his death to improve others lives. Nick graciously donated:
Heart for valves, which may be used to replace valves and vessels in patients suffering from congenital heart defects or disease;
Saphenous veins, Femoral vessels, and Aorto-iliac vessels, may be used to replace damaged or diseased blood vessels to improve or restore blood flow to the legs and organs;
Fascia, the membrane surrounding the thigh muscle, which may be used for uterine or bladder reconstruction;
Skin, which may be used to help patients in need of reconstructive surgery in abdominal wall repair, or post mastectomy reconstruction following breast cancer, facial trauma or deep burns;
Bone, which may be used to relieve pain and restore mobility to patients suffering from bone damage or loss due to cancer, trauma, or disease; many times, patients suffering from back pain can be helped through bone grafts in spine surgeries;
Connective tissue, which may be used to repair knee ligaments to restore patients’ ability to walk; and in recontructive surgery in patients with facial deformities due to congenitalmor traumatic injury.
Nick’s generous donations have helped 62 individuals, ranging from 12 to 76, in 20 states. He also donated his big beautiful brown eyes to the Minnesota Lions Eye Bank for research. Ironically the man he was named after and his maternal grandmother were afflicted with macular degeneration. Blindness robbed both of them of their independence and prevented them from seeing the beauty around them.
Nick died on May 22, 2011of a massive heart attack. He was a registered donor. He was loved by many! He will be missed by many, but will live forever in our hearts!
Nicholas (Nick) Just