The Impact of Donations

One Student's Story

Yolanda C. Domingo

Survivor of breast cancer and a heart transplant recipient. Wants to be a medical social worker and focus on transplant patients and their families.

How do scholarships help you? What difference do they make?
Scholarships help tremendously. When I first began school, I did not have a computer, backpack, tape recorder to help with lectures. I would stay at the computer lab at school till the evening to complete my homework or if I had a paper to write. If there were on-line assignments, I had to stay in school till the evening to complete my assignments. There were days I would go home first and then return to school to do my homework.

Since I have been a scholarship recipient, I have been able to purchase my own computer, lap top and some basic supplies for projects, books, etc. During my chemotherapy, I was able to continue my education through on-line courses and able to turn in my assignments to my professor when I wasn’t able to attend school. It has been very helpful in allowing me to continue my education without having to worry if I have enough money to purchase additional books or supplies or to continue to have computer access at home. It has taken a big load of stress off of me and has allowed me to continue to receive the best education to better my life.

What has education meant to you?
Education has given me a “second chance” to be able to better myself in working towards becoming a self-supporting member in society. It has been a very difficult road both financially and emotionally because of the challenges in my life. Being given an opportunity after a life-threatening illness has changed my whole perspective on life.& Being given the opportunity to go back to school has allowed me to achieve a goal of being able to give back to the community by becoming a medical social worker and help transplant patients and their families through the transplant process. Education will allow me to give back to our community in a positive way.

Why did you return to school?
I received a heart transplant in May 2000. Six months after my transplant my doctor released me to very light duty. I was not able to return back to my old jobs and so the transplant nurse suggested that maybe it would be a good time to go back to school while it would also allow me to recuperate from my heart transplant. Because of all of the limitations of returning back to work, I decided to go back to school, better myself so that I would be able to go back into the work force again with a better purpose and goal.

Why do you want to be a medical social worker with a focus on transplant patients and their families?
I have been given a second chance at life. This has been a Mother’s Day Gift of Life that I will always treasure. I believe that being a medical social worker and being able to help transplant recipients and their families through the transplant process is my way of giving back and by honoring my donor, Steven M. Ginoza's life.

Steven was 28 years old and the youngest son of Frank and Jessie Ginoza. I had a hard time accepting why he had to die so young so that I could live. So, I have accepted that Steven didn’t die, he lives on in me and beats in me everyday and gives me life. I in turn want to help in giving life to someone else. Even if it’s just one person, I will feel so blessed. Organ donation saved my life and I want to do that for someone else and their family. There’s a lot that you go through as a transplant patient. Your whole life changes. There are so many challenges that you have to face to get through a day such as: the side effects of the medication, being able to adjust to being able to move around like a normal person, learning to listen to your body and be able to know when to take time and rest, slow down, being able to go through numerous medical procedures, blood tests and know that you have medication to take for the rest of your life to stay alive. I want to be able to help transplant patients through that process.

Consider becoming a donor today!