Heart Recipient Meets Donor Family

Valerie Schneider    May 23, 2017


Heart Recipient to Meet Organ Donor Family
Media opportunity this Sunday to witness emotional and rare introduction

FALLS CHURCH, VA – “I want you to touch our heart!” This is the message Roger Smelser sent Barbara Wolfrum, the woman whose husband, David, gave him a second chance at life. They will meet face-to-face for the first time on Sunday, May 28, at 1:30 PM. Media are invited to document this emotional gathering at the Washington Regional Transplant Community (WRTC) office in Falls Church, VA.

When David died in 2014, his loved ones realized the immense opportunity he had to help others; in total, his donation saved the lives of 6 people. It is rare that 6 transplantable organs – heart, liver, right lung, left lung, right kidney, left kidney – from a single donor are healthy and viable enough to be donated at the time of death. David’s ability to do so is a testament to his health as well as the care given by the clinical team at WRTC. Now, 3 years later, Barbara will once again hear her husband’s heart courtesy of the man who received one of these remarkable gifts.

Lisa Colaianni, a Donor Family Advocate at WRTC who will coordinate the introduction of Wolfrum and Smelser says “This will be a remarkable and emotional journey for both sides.” Colaianni works tirelessly to help donor family members through their grief journey, helping to support and facilitate communication between them and recipients. “This is truly special because not every donor/recipient family wants to meet,” she says.

For media coordination and facility support of this emotional reunion, contact WRTC’s Manager Media Relations and Communications, Valerie Schneider, at or (513) 255-6249.

NOTE: Access to the building will be restricted due to the holiday weekend. Prior media coordination is required.


The Washington Regional Transplant Community (WRTC) is the Washington D.C. area’s organ procurement organization (OPO) whose mission is to recover organs and tissue by preserving every donation option, excelling in recovery and placement, and providing care for donors and their families. WRTC is a non-profit serving more than 5 million people, 44 hospitals and 6 transplant centers. WRTC’s services encompass recovery services, donor family support, hospital services, and community education. To learn more about WRTC, visit us at www.beadonor.org.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.