Giving the Gift of Life:Personal Stories are Driving Force for Organ Donation

By Kate Anslinger

When an unexpected tragedy took the life of Carol Dullea’s grandson, Ethan, some 17 years ago, the pain was incomprehensible.

However, last week, she said the dagger of that situation was dulled for her family when they decided to donate Ethan’s organs.

“It softens the sorrow and lightens the darkness,” said Dullea. “When we found out his liver would save another young boy, it was like the sun came out.”

Revere City Hall was filled with such emotion on Wednesday morning, May 11, as those affected by organ donation came out to share their personal stories.

One of those personal stories was imparted by Mayor Brian Arrigo himself.

In July of 2014, Arrigo’s father was the recipient of a double lung transplant. Since the procedure, Mayor Arrigo has gotten married, had a child and become mayor. These precious days spent with his father would’ve sadly been missed had some generous person not declared themselves as a donor.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have additional days with my father thanks to the incredible technology today,” said Arrigo.

In 2015, 719 lives were saved here in New England because of kind individuals who became organ donors. Thousands more lives were enhanced through the gift of tissue donation. The need for life-saving transplants grows every day, with 121,000 patients now on the U.S. transplant wait list.

RMV Registrar Erin Deveney has been one of the pioneers in spreading the word about organ donation. She and her staff at the RMV make it a priority to ask customers if they would like to be an organ donor. It is a simple question that could save several lives, she said.

“There is no greater service that we can offer than to give someone a chance to live,” said Deveney.

Dullea shared her very touching and personal story.

When her grandson died, she said the tragedy spread through the family and gripped their hearts. However, a bit of the sorrow was appeased when they found out that young Ethan’s kidneys would go to a 55 year old man across the country and his liver would save the life of another young boy.

Glen Wylie was on the opposite end of the spectrum, as he was the recipient of a liver when he was diagnosed with cancer in 2015.

“It was a shame that someone’s story has to end for mine to continue,” said Wylie, who said he is forever grateful for that one person who made the decision to be a donor.

Wylie now shares his story at the RMV, because the personal touch reminds clerks to never forget to ask customers the valuable question that could one day save a life.

“These personal stories are the driving force for us to relay the importance of organ donation,” said New England Organ Bank Rep Matthew Boger.

Cutline –


State Rep RoseLee Vincent, House Speaker’s Legislative Aid Joan Moscillo, New England Organ Bank Matthew Boger, Carol Dullea, and Glen Wylie.


Mayor Arrigo shared his personal story about organ donation, something that has given him a lot more time with his father.


Carol Dullea shared a touching story about her grandson, who was a donor.


State Rep RoseLee Vincent presents an award to RMV Registrar Erin Deveney


State Rep RoseLee Vincent presents a House certificate from Speaker Bob DeLeo and herself to the RMV and New England Organ Bank – for outstanding work to promote organ and tissue donation to save lives in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


Aide to the Mayor Joe Gravellese, Matthew Boger, Glen Wylie, Carol Dullea, Mayor Arrigo, State Rep. RoseLee Vincent, RMV Registrar Erin Deveney, Legislative Aid Joan Moscillo and School Committeewoman Stacey Rizzo.

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