Mother’s life of service lives on through donation
As a teacher at Early Learning Center in Springfield and a student pursuing a PhD in social work, 46-year-old Teneka Wyatt was preparing to live a life bettering the lives of others. In death, she did just that.
Teneka was battling multiple health complications when she passed away at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, Ill., on July 23, 2020. Her daughter Tempest said the decision to discontinue her mother’s life support was devastating, but the decision to donate tissue to heal others in need was simple.
“My mom was my role model,” Tempest says. “She was driven and believed in giving back and helping others.”
Teneka’s tissue gifts are enhancing the lives of tissue transplant recipients in Texas, Iowa, Tennessee, and even as far away as Switzerland.
“We’re happy she was able to help others through her donation,” Tempest says. “We know that at times, people of color don’t donate, and we hope that as her story gets out, it inspires people to donate.”
As she marked the one-year anniversary of her mother’s death, Tempest held a balloon release with family and friends. She will continue honoring and celebrating Teneka’s life by placing gifts on a special table in her home. Meanwhile, Tempest is comforted with the knowledge that her mother’s gifts live on in those who received her gift of tissue donation.
“She’d be happy, too, knowing that she helped others even after she was gone,” she says.
Throughout August 2021, Teneka is honored on street pole banners in downtown Springfield, along 5th Street between Washington and Capitol streets, in recognition of National Minority Donor Awareness Month.
The banners celebrate Teneka as a teacher, wife, mother, grandmother and sister, with a message to honor her family and all those who say yes to donation.
Join the Organ and Tissue Donor Registry by Clicking Here or Texting HOPE to 51555.