A Mother’s Gift

Anna Malnar with her mother, Patricia Laughlin. Patricia became an organ, eye and tissue donor after her passing.

In December 2023, Patricia Laughlin was diagnosed with PCP pneumonia. Patricia had previously been diagnosed with Myasthenia gravis in 2017, a neuromuscular disorder that takes over your bones and immune system. She was immunocompromised and the pneumonia was making it even harder to breathe.

After being intubated for three weeks, her family, including her daughter Anna Malnar, made the difficult decision to remove her from the ventilator.

The Laughlin family, including Patricia who later became an organ, eye and tissue donor.“It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make,” said Anna. “Having Myasthenia gravis made it very hard for my mom to recover from any sickness in general. We tried everything.”

A mortgage lending specialist for over 30 years, Patricia loved what she did. She also loved her family which included her two grandchildren Ariana and Caiden, and her five siblings. Patricia and her husband Leonard, who passed away in 2021 due to dementia, also enjoyed visiting Florida as a family.

“My favorite memory with my parents was our yearly trips to Florida and Disney World,” said Anna. “We were very fortunate to take one last trip to Disney in July 2023 with my mom, husband, and our two children. I’m so happy to have had one last vacation with her.”

Two days before her mother passed, Anna received a call from Gift of Life Michigan.

“At that moment, I had no idea who they were or what type of organization they were a part of,” said Anna. “At least until I was told that my mom was a registered organ donor. I was taken by surprise because that’s one thing I did not know about my mom.”

Anna was “blown away” by her mother’s generosity. Patricia was able to donate both of her kidneys, eye tissue and her liver for research. Knowing that her mother gave the life-saving gift to three people helped Anna in her grieving journey.

The Laughlin family, including Patricia who later became an organ, eye and tissue donor.“My mom was my best friend,” said Anna. “She was the most amazing, inspiring and beautiful human being I’ve ever known. Our entire family is so proud of her.”

Connecting with Gift of Life following her mother’s passing has also helped Anna and her family grieve. In fact, Anna and her daughter Ariana recently attended the WDIV Creating Comfort Blanket event to thank the organization for the help they received.

“We have received phone calls to see how we’re doing, blankets, books, stuffed animals for my children and just so much love,” she said. “I miss my mom so much, but I find comfort in knowing she did such an amazing thing.”

You can join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry through the Gift of Life website. If you do decide to register, be sure to share this important decision with your family.

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