In death, 24-year-old Jackson woman saved many lives as an organ donor

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ – Stephanie Smith, a Jackson Township resident, was young and had her whole life ahead of her, but she passed away prematurely at the age of 24 last April.

Stephanie, the middle child of seven siblings, was remembered as a fun-loving spirit and energy always shined through. In addition to her warm personality, loved ones admired her many talents as a certified medical assistant, makeup artist, and even an accomplished softball player.

“She was truly one of a kind and lived life to its fullest,” said Donna Smith, Stephanie’s mother. “She found joy in life’s precious moments together with family. Our family members would often call her ‘The Appetizer Queen’ because she loved going out to eat with everyone.”

Stephanie passed away on April 4th, but as an organ and tissue donor, in her death, she saved the lives of many.

While Donna and Wayne Smith continue to feel the loss of Stephanie each day, they find some comfort in knowing that a special part of Stephanie continues to live on as an organ donor. As a result of Stephanie’s donation of her heart, liver, pancreas, and kidneys, four women have been saved and her cornea donation has restored sight to another woman.

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I am thankful that I had discussions with Stephanie about organ and tissue donation,” said Donna. “Looking back and now seeing the impact that she made on others, I am happy that we supported her wishes. I believe that organ and tissue donation is something that everyone should discuss with their family.”

Thanks to Stephanie’s generosity in life and others, organ donation in New Jersey hads reached a record high in 2022.

In 2022, Carolyn M. Welsh, the President and CEO of NJ Sharing Network, a federally-designated organization responsible for recovering donated organs and tissues in the state, announced that the number of organ donors (283), as well as the number of organ transplants (670), reached all-time highs. In comparison with previous records of 233 organ donors and 613 organ transplants, these unprecedented totals represent significant growth. NJ Sharing Network reported a record number of organ donors for the fourth consecutive year, highlighting the clear trend of increased support for organ donation in the Garden State.