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Published On: Fri, Apr 22nd, 2016

St. Petersburg man is alive this Donate Life Month, Thanks to the generosity of an organ donor

The life of a musician is peppered with excitement. The thrill of traveling around the globe and sharing one’s musical gifts with throngs of fans is rewarding and cathartic. This was the case for St. Petersburg resident Dan Palmer before doctors told him his life would be cut short due to the need for an organ transplant.

Image/David Benbennick

Image/David Benbennick

Dan began studying classical guitar at age 6. Ten years after his first music class he was performing professionally. His talents yielded a vocal scholarship to the University of Nevada but he soon left school to pursue his passion full time. He enjoyed a fulfilling life as an entertainer for many years. His craft introduced him to audiences throughout the United States and several European countries.

In 2003, Dan was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. Seven years later he experienced the worst year of his life. “In late July I endured liver failure, cardiac arrest and four comas,” Dan recalls. “Because of these health issues my driving privileges were revoked and I was forced to cancel my scheduled tours.”

After being placed on the national waiting list to receive a liver transplant, Dan and his caregiver, Melisa, moved from California to Florida to wait for the call that would change his life. “I existed in a land of limbo,” remembers Dan. “I was hoping and dreaming of a future that remained out of reach.”

At 1:15 a.m. on June 2, 2015, Dan received the phone call and less than 24 hours after that life-changing call, Dan had his new liver and he soon returned home to a renewed life. “Receiving a transplant is an amazing experience that comes with a flood of emotions, and a great responsibility,” says Dan.

Dan waited more than five years to receive his liver transplant after being placed on the waiting list. There are currently more than 120,000 Americans who continue to wait for that life-changing phone call. You can help make a potential difference for these individuals in need by signing up on Florida’s organ and tissue donor registry at www.DonateLifeFlorida.org or while visiting your local driver license office. One person can possibly save the lives of eight individuals through organ donation and countless others through life-enhancing tissue grafts.

April is National Donate Life Month. This is the perfect time to declare your wishes to be an organ donor, or if you’re like Dan and have benefited from a transplant, consider volunteering with LifeLink of Florida, the local organ recovery organization serving west and southwest Florida. Your story can make a huge impact on the lives of others.

Since receiving his transplant, Dan honors his donor’s gift through music and by sharing his story with others. “I hope to one day meet the family that allowed me to return to health and life,” says Dan. “In the meantime, I do my best to take care of the gift they’ve given me, and try to live my life in a way that will honor this incredible gift.”

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