How My Father Lived To Be 100 Through Organ Donation

Monday, July 31, 2017

My father, Austin Golden, had dreams of living to be 100 years old. Sadly, those dreams were cut short when he fell and passed away suddenly at the age of 85. But I believe my father was able to live those extra 15 years, and perhaps more, by saving the life of another through organ donation. 

I remember speaking on the phone with my father the morning of April 15, 2015, as we did every morning. That was the last time we spoke. When I called the next morning, my father did not answer his phone. I knew something was terribly wrong. I arrived at his house to find him seriously injured. We rushed him to Erlanger Medical Center, where doctors told my family that my father could not be revived due to head trauma. Suddenly, all hope seemed lost for us. 

It all happened so fast, and we hadn’t even considered organ donation up to that point due to his age. But then a representative of Tennessee Donor Services informed us that thanks to advances in science and research, there are even more opportunities for donation and transplantation, particularly among elderly individuals. 

My family considered what my dad might say, and we all could hear his voice:  “Well, I’m not going to need my organs anymore, so why not give them to someone who does?’ We decided that donation was the right thing to do. 

Due to that decision, my father’s liver saved the life of another man. 

Age should not stand in the way of people registering to be an organ and tissue donor. It’s a widely believed myth that senior citizens cannot are too old to donate. That is far from the truth. So far, oldest donor in the United States was 92 years old. 

One organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people, and one tissue donor can restore the lives of up to 50 or more people. Annually, 1 million people in the United States benefit from life-saving and life-healing tissue transplants. 

Yet the number of people in need of organ and tissue continues to outpace the number of donors. Every 10 minutes in the U.S., someone is added to the transplant waiting list. Nationally, more than 118,000 people are on the waiting list today. Sadly, 20 people die each day waiting for a transplant. Nearly 3,000 people are waiting for an organ transplant in Tennessee alone. 

There are two ways to register as an organ and tissue donor in Tennessee. You can go online at to register and specify which organs and tissues you would like to donate. You can also register at the Tennessee Department of Safety when applying for, renewing or updating a state driver’s license. After saying “yes” to donation at the Department of Safety, individuals can further specify their gift by going to I often think of my father’s recipient and imagine the life he now can live thanks to my father’s gift. 

It makes me proud in the midst of all the grief, and I am grateful that age wasn’t a barrier in my father giving a second chance at life to another.

Lolita Jones

Re-elect Joe Graham

Early voting time is here again and our choices couldn’t be more important.  It’s an easy choice though for the voters in Hamilton County District 6.  Joe Graham is the obvious choice.  I’ve known Joe for over 40 years.  I grew up with him.  He was a few years behind me at Lookout Valley High School but even then, I could tell there was something special ... (click for more)

Party Problems In The 30th District House Race

Watching the 30th district house race is very interesting.  It is normal that the front runner in an election can expect some attacks.  However, the vicious attacks that Ms. Helton is facing is unprecedented in my opinion.  Both of these candidates are in the same party.  I was under the impression that party leaders were the ones that challenged a candidate’s ... (click for more)

Red Bank Approves Short Term Vacation Rental Ordinance On Final Reading

The Red Bank Commission passed an ordinance Tuesday night on second and final reading that regulates short term rentals within the city. "Our hands have been tied because of state law," said Mayor John Roberts. Many residents, both for and against allowing these rentals, have come to recent commission meetings appealing to the commissioners for their side of the issue, ... (click for more)

Firefighters Battle 2-Alarm Fire On Workman Road Tuesday Morning

Chattanooga firefighters were dispatched at 6:03 a.m. on Tuesday, to a commercial fire at 400 Workman Road. When the first firefighters arrived on the scene, flames were shooting through the roof and the request was immediately made for a second alarm response. The flames could be seen for miles as a total of 13 fire companies rushed to the scene. The large, two-story ... (click for more)

English, Ex-East Hamilton Coach, Hired To Lead Whites Creek Boys' Hoops Team

Rodney English, former boys’ basketball coach at East Hamilton, recently was named to a similar job at Whites Creek High School in Nashville. The move was made public Monday when English’s name appeared on the official Whites Creek school directory that is annually submitted to the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association. The hiring of English at Whites Creek was also ... (click for more)

Vols' Nigel Warrior Named To Bednarik Award Watch List

Tennessee junior defensive back  Nigel Warrior  has been named to the 2018 Bednarik Award Watch List. Warrior is the first Vol to be named to the Bednarik Watch list since the defensive trio of Derek Barnett, Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Cameron Sutton were named to the Bednarik's preliminary list in 2016.   Warrior totaled 83 tackles with 3.5 tackles for loss ... (click for more)