The Gift of Life

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- During this holiday season, many are searching for that perfect gift.

There is "one" that hundreds around Hawaii want, but few will get.

And this gift is the hardest to let go, for those giving.

Each day Sandy Pohl spends time looking at new hand-crafted art and prints at her husbands gallery in Chinatown.

But it is an old photograph that always catches her eye.

Of her daughter Vikki.

"She was a really cute kid, a rascal" says Pohl.

Vikki, like others remembered on a memorial quilt, was an organ donor.

She was left brain-dead after being hit by a car in 1996.

"She was part of a real miracle for a lot of people who had no hope of living." states Pohl.

But there is always more need than donors. Now nearly 400 people are waiting in Hawaii for hearts, livers and kidneys.

For some, the wait is too long.

"23 people died waiting last year" says Stephan Kula, with the Organ Donor Center of Hawaii.

Anyone can sign up to be an organ donor, but the parts are not always used.

In some violent crashes, critical organs may be damaged.

For others, it is too difficult to give away a loved one's organs after they die.

"In my mind I agreed with her wishes, but emotionally I was holding back." states Charlie Chong.

Chong would have celebrated 25 years of marriage with his wife cindy next year.

He no longer has her, but he is comforted that her gift is helping so many others.

"About 30 people benefiting from her donation" says Chong.

Part of the donors still lives on, even after their bodies are gone.

And during this holiday season, Sandy not only keeps a picture of Vikki, she also carries around the memories of her daughters special gift.

"So many people benefit, it is the ultimate gift" adds Pohl.

If you would like more information about donation organs, head to our website, k-h-n-l-dot-com for a link to the organ donor center of hawaii.>