Two Second Chances at Life

Someone once said, “You do not need to be a physician or a superhero to save a life, just an organ donor with a kind heart.” Susanna Foster, from Philipsburg, Pa., knows only too well how an organ can save a life; she has been the recipient of three organs — two kidneys and a pancreas.

A diabetic since the age of 13, Susanna was in her mid-40s when she was forced to go on dialysis. She also needed a pancreas. The mother of two was only on dialysis for six months when she received the call that they had both a kidney and pancreas from a deceased donor. She had a double transplant on December 9, 2004.

“The recovery following the transplant went fairly easy,” shared Susanna. “I had few physical restrictions other than lifting. I gradually regained my strength.”

Fast forward 18 years to when she was providing care to her mother and contracted the norovirus. Susanna became very ill and weighed only 84 pounds. Her kidney failed and required dialysis.

Once again she was only on dialysis for six months when a kidney became available.

“I was sitting in the dialysis chair when the woman providing care said she had a feeling that I was going to get a kidney soon because everyone who sits in that chair receives a transplant shortly after,” explained Susanna.

It was only a few weeks until she and her husband, Tom, received word that a kidney was available.

“It was very bittersweet,” she related. “The second kidney came from my daughter-in-law’s 19-year-old cousin who was killed in a motorcycle accident. We were a perfect match.”

Susanna’s second kidney transplant took place on August 18, 2022. Once again her recovery was quick and smooth thanks to the attention she received from her husband and daughter Deborah Anderson, RN, who is the supervisor of the 3rd Floor Medical/Surgical Unit at Penn Highlands DuBois.

“I am very grateful to both donors who gave me not one but two second chances at life,” said Susanna. “Organ donors saved me twice and it’s just wonderful to have donors.”

To become an organ donor in Pennsylvania, visit You also can become a donor when you renew your driver’s license in person or online at Once you register, please tell your loved ones about your decision so that if the time comes, they will not be surprised and can help carry out your wishes.

Remember, we all have the power to save a life!

Susanna Foster
Shown in the photo are transplant recipient Susanna Foster (right) with her daughter, Deborah Anderson and husband, Tom Foster.