Copyright (c) 1999
Marcia Roenigk faced death, but embraced life.
Born with a hole in her heart, her defect wracked her body. A room at Vanderbilt University Medical Center became her home. Doctors told her she would live there until she either received a heart-lung transplant or she died.
Roenigk knew the numbers were against her: Of the 15,000-20,000 potential donors who die every year in the United States, only 5,000 choose to donate their organs. Nationwide, about 14 people die per day while awaiting a transplant. Last year, 92 of those deaths were Tennesseans.
Because Roenigk wanted to raise awareness about organ donation, she allowed a reporter and a photographer to follow her for 4-1/2 months.
A four-part series appeared in the Living section of the Nashville Tennessean beginning Sunday Sept. 19, 1999.