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PALESTINE, OCTOBER 4, 2017 – I want to let you know about a “heartwarming” story opportunity coming up next week. Several heart transplant recipients and family members of organ donors are scheduled to attend a play in Palestine based on a true story of a woman who was given new life through the generosity of a donor.
The Palestine Community Theatre (PCT) is presenting Sean Grennan’s comedy “The Tin Woman” at the historic Texas Theatre, 213 W. Crawford, in downtown Palestine, October 6-8 and 13-15.
On Sunday, October 8, the heart transplant recipients are scheduled to see the 2 p.m. performance that echoes their own stories of needing and receiving life-saving heart transplants. Following the show is a reception at 4 p.m. where the cast, recipients, and donor families meet and discuss their experiences. The media is invited to attend.
In the production of “The Tin Woman,” a character named Joy, played by PCT veteran Kathrine Newton, suffers an illness and needs a new heart, but her second chance at life comes at a great cost to her donor Jack's family who lost a son and brother. Joy struggles with survivor's guilt and whether she truly has a purpose in life. She asks herself why she is saved while Jack lost his life. On the other hand, Jack's parents, played by Dr. Jan Sikes and Jim Vincill, and his sister, played by Shannon Smith, each deal with their loss differently.
Playwrite Grennan uses humor to highlight some of the differences between generations as each character walks their own path of acceptance. Through her donor agency, Joy begins communicating with Jack's family, and they eventually meet.
The Palestine Community Theatre is using this opportunity to raise awareness for the need for organ donation.
Through in-person and video accounts at the theatre, they share personal stories of loss and life from local and area organ recipients and donor families, including a member of the cast.
Sandy Fox Webb, of Palestine, who plays a nurse in the show, lost her son, Joshua in 2004 and her husband Stephen in 2015. They were organ and tissue donors.
Other family members of donors attending are Gail Dressell of Palestine who lost her husband Donald in 2010 and Chylon Dentler, also of Palestine, who lost her husband Blake just this past summer.
Several heart transplant recipients plan to watch the show and share their stories during the reception.
Wendy Tarver, now 44, of Nacogdoches had a life-saving heart transplant November 11, 2013. This summer she met her donor’s family for the first time in Friona, Texas. Her donor, Delia Jackson, succumbed to a brain tumor. She left behind her husband, a daughter, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Andie Kay Joyner of Wills Point recently celebrated her one-year “rebirthday.” On September 6, 2016, doctors at UT Southwestern in Dallas performed heart and liver transplants on Joyner, who turned 40 this year, a birthday just a year earlier, she thought she’d never see. Joyner just received contact information for her donor’s family and is eager to meet them.
Just two days later last year in another part of Texas, Melissa Litchfield of Oakwood received her new heart September 8 at the Texas Transplant Center of the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston. Her donor was a 25-year-old young man.
Also on hand at the reception is Gary Garcia of Fort Worth, a liver recipient who now volunteers for Donate Life Texas to educate others about the importance of organ donation in the community.
Please advise if you would like to attend the show or would like to conduct interviews during the reception or need more information.
Director, The Tin Woman
Palestine Community Theatre
Palestine Community Theatre Coordinator
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