A “family” helping families

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A “family” helping families

Understanding grief underlies compassion. “We understand how tough it is,” said Renata Krzyston, Supervisor for Donor Family Services, Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network. “When you’re on this journey with grief, that pain is so isolating. You feel like no one else can feel that pain.”

Renata Krzyston and Nickolas (Nick) Harmon, Donor Family Service Coordinator, are part of the team that provides thousands of families of donors with information, support and ongoing opportunities for connection after their loved one passes and becomes an organ or tissue donor, or donor in spirit.

Making personal connections with donor families is at the core of their work, and a family environment within the Donor Family Service team is crucial to doing it successfully. “We help one another,” said Nick. “It’s more than a team, it’s a family, a tight-knit family.”

“We have to be there for each other and support each other,” added Renata. “We have to be there to lift each other up.”

The sense of family extends even further to Nick’s mother, Barbie, who formerly worked at Gift of Hope and was Renata’s friend and colleague.  The connection dates back many years. “I love that you guys are friends,” Nick said to Renata. “It makes work feel like home—it’s comfortable.”

“I truly believe among all of us, the desire to help one other is there,” said Renata. “Everyone wants to do good.”

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