Donated at Age 29
More than a year after Stefanos became a donor, his mother, Eleni, returned to New York to meet his transplant recipients and their grateful families.
At the start of the fall semester in 2010, Stefanos Tsigrimanis, a 29-year-old native of Greece, was living in Brooklyn studying at New York University where he was completing his PhD dissertation. The student of music and art also enjoyed an active social life. He had a girlfriend, and the future looked bright.
And then from nowhere, tragedy struck. On September 7, Stefanos was killed when his bike was struck by a car. Witnesses said he wasn’t wearing a helmet. Stefanos was rushed to Kings County Hospital Center, but nothing could be done to revive him.
When Eleni, his mother, heard what had happened to her only child, she flew from Greece to New York. Despite the unspeakable loss, she realized that something positive could take place. A registered organ donor herself back in Greece, Eleni gave consent so that Stefanos could become an organ and tissue donor.
As a result of the family’s generosity, four lives were saved.
In 2011, on October 20, just more than a year after the loss of Stefanos, Eleni returned to New York. On October 20, she was able to meet all but one of her son’s transplant recipients.
In a ceremony filled with deep emotion and love, Eleni met Ana Bajana (38), a Bronx resident who received Stefanos’s kidney and pancreas. She came face to face with her son’s heart recipient, James Cooper (51) and Valerie Sperazza (59), Stefanos’s liver recipient. The recipient of Stefanos’s other kidney, a 7-year-old, could not attend the meeting.