Joyce Roush Mason
Updated: Friday, August 2 2013, 09:21 PM EDT
Organ donation has been commonplace for decades now, but it wasn't that long ago that our "Person of the Week" did something no one had ever done before.
She did it, not knowing that it was a big deal.
Then national television shows, magazines and awards started coming, and since then her gift just keeps on giving.
From the moment you enter the home of Joyce Roush Mason, there's a sense of tranquility.
A testament to her outlook on life can be found on her very walls.
"Life is not measured by the breath you take. It's measure by the breath you take away."
Joyce Roush Mason, "there's something each of us is supposed to do to make the world better. Life had prepared me to step forward in that moment."
Her moment came in 1999. While working as a trauma nurse in indiana, she decided to donate a kidney to a 13 year old boy from Maryland she never met.
"For me it was just a no brainier. It was no big deal."
Up to then, kidney donations were between family members and friends, not total strangers.
"When I found out I was the first person in America who did it, I couldn't believe it."
And she couldn't believe the reaction, "there was a front page article in the NY Times!"
There was national TV appearances and people magazine, "perfect stranger. Knowing the need, Indiana's Joyce Roush offered a kidney to someone she never met."
Letters from all over the world and awards, the military order of the purple heart.
"They actually now give purple heart awards to civilians who put their own life in danger to save the life of another."
She was picked to be an Olympic torch bearer to the 2002 games in Salt Lake City, "I had to pass the flame to the next person".
At The Elizabeth House Hospice where she is Clinical Director, Joyce carries compassion with a staff caring for those who are at the end of life.
Chris Comeaux, C.E.O., Four Seasons Hospice, "Joyce is one of these people that lives for a greater purpose and she makes the people around her better."
Joyce Roush Mason has never really stopped giving, "it can be a smile. It can be a touch. It can be a good morning."
She's sharing a gift every day with some people who may not even know it.
"If we just open ourselves up and say help me make a difference today, we'll find a way."
She just keeps finding a way.
To learn more about kidney donation or how you can help four season's hospice and palliative care, a non-profit, click here.
Links to more information about organ donation:
The National Kidney Foundation, Inc.