Transplant Recipient Grateful to Donor’s Family

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SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT -- Over the weekend, we showed you a woman from Lycoming County meeting the family in New Jersey that donated the organs of their 15-year-old son.

Now, she's back home in the Williamsport area and talking with Newswatch 16 about what it meant to meet that family and the special, lifesaving friendship she now shares.

The woman from South Williamsport needed a pancreas transplant. She spent more than three years on a waiting list. When she finally got the call that she had a match, she never expected the outcome would mean so much to a family she had never met.

"It feels normal but this whole weekend still feels kind of surreal for me," said Missy Masse.

Months after her pancreas transplant, Missy Masse from South Williamsport is back to work, back to her everyday routine. However, at her desk at Lycoming College, there's a small reminder of a giant gift, one she received from an organ donor and his family from New Jersey.

"This is actually a gift from Luke's family. Then the bracelet is just the regular green organ donation bracelet."

Every year, there are thousands of people waiting for an organ transplant. Because of her diabetes, Masse had already had a kidney transplant. She was on the waiting list for a pancreas when she got the call over the summer.

"I do, I still have guilt but my thankfulness outweighs the guilt which is why I contacted them," Masse said.

Thanks to the nonprofit New Jersey Sharing Network, this past weekend Masse traveled to the Garden State to meet the family of her organ donor 15-year-old Luke Batista.

Last May, Luke died in an accident. His older brother made the decision to donate the organs.

"I couldn't grasp it that a piece of my son was going to walk through that door like in a human in another human," said Carla Batista, the donor's mother.

"There they are still grieving but there they are happy to see me, happy to see me doing well," said Masse.

Masse's 10-year-old daughter and her coworkers at Lycoming College are also happy to see her doing well.

"She is very much a person to look up to for what she has gone through," said coworker Jim Lakis.

"It might not be the heart. It might not be what some people think is as important as the heart, but to me, it is because, after 26 years, I no longer have diabetes," Masse added.

In all, Luke's organs could help over 100 people.

Since her surgery, Missy Masse says she hopes to continue educating people about the importance of organ donation.