Sacramento man reunites with heart donor's family

Chris Nguyen Image
ByChris Nguyen KGO logo
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Sacramento man reunites with heart donor's family
A Sacramento man reunited with the parents of a young Martinez woman who helped save his life.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- An emotional gathering took place in San Francisco Thursday between a transplant patient, the medical staff who saved his life, and the family of the organ donor who made it possible.

"I tell my kids to be nice with everyone you come in contact with, because you never know who's going to have an effect on your life," Tom Goss said.

In March of 2014, after years of dialysis and suffering from failing health, Goss' life was forever changed when he found out he'd be receiving a heart and kidney from a young woman who had passed away. "I had only been on the transplant list for 12 days, so when I got the call, it really was a shock," Goss said.

The donor, Kate Hopkins, 20, of Martinez was at Yosemite on Spring break when she suffered a tragic accident while testing her new longboard.

Hopkins' mother thinks about her every day. "Remembering all the good things she did, and being thankful that we did have 20 fantastic wonderful years with her. She was happy, she was healthy," Hopkins said.

On Thursday, the Goss and Hopkins families visited the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco to meet face-to-face with the medical staff who helped save Goss' life, while also honoring Kate's legacy. "I will continue to do my part to share the word about the need for organ donation, because if I help one more person get an organ, then my job is done," Organ donor's mother Jackie Hopkins said.

Two families are now working together and spreading a message of hope and healing. "Three years down the road to do something like this is easier, because I could only get a few words out before, and then I'd start crying, just because I'm thinking, I've been given someone else's life," Goss said.

This is a constant reminder to always live life to the fullest.

Click here for more information on Donate Life California.