Barb Heals with Love
Barbara Thomas, Brookfield, not only works for Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network, but she also has firsthand experience as a living donor.
On Oct. 22, 2009, at Loyola, Thomas donated a kidney to her then tenant, James Love. At the time, she worked elsewhere. The very first thing my boss said to me was, ‘You know you don't have any vacation days or sick days left.’" She soon discovered there weren’t a lot of financial resources available to donors. So she founded the Heal with Love Foundation, named for her recipient, to reimburse living donors for their lost wages during recovery from transplant surgery. “No one should have to worry about how to pay their bills while trying to recover from this major, life-changing surgery,” she says. “While not everyone can donate a kidney, we can all help support someone else who can.” She was highlighted in a recent Gift of Hope social media campaign.
Thomas attended the 2016 Games (Cleveland) for the first time and was hooked. She competed in Salt Lake City in several swimming events as well as played on the trivia team. Barb looks forward to competing in the 2022 Games in San Diego.