Dear Donor features individuals and families affected by organ, eye and tissue donation. The second installment of the series, Warrior’s Mask, recounts the story of Masatoshi Nomura, a 19-year-old Japanese exchange student at Diablo Valley College who died in a car accident in 2005.
Upon learning of their son’s accident, his parents flew from Japan to be by their son’s side and ultimately authorized donation. One of his kidneys would go on to save the life of Michael Untalasco of Brentwood, CA. The Untalasco and Nomura families were reunited last March at a ceremony in John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, where the donation took place 10 years ago.
“I feel very relieved to actually meet Michael and get to know him in person; I feel at peace with my decision,” says Mariko Nomura, Masatohi’s mother who was interviewed for the video along with her husband, Yusuji . “It really didn’t matter to us their gender, religion, any cultural background or beliefs. We never thought of that at all,” said Yusuji when asked about the lives that Masatoshi would save as a donor.
Masatoshi practiced Kendo, a modern Japanese martial art that is also known as Japanese fencing. Kendo practitioners use bamboo swords and protective armor during matches.
“Masa was both full of an unbridled sort of youth and zest for new things in life. When he fought he was like a tiger, a completely different person. He would put on a mask of a warrior and it was interesting to see that sort of aggression be tempered with what was one of the sweetest guys I’ve ever met,” says Rick Powell, Masatoshi’s Kendo instructor.
About Donor Network West
Donor Network West saves and heals lives by facilitating organ and tissue recovery for transplantation. The organization was established in 1987, and is an official Donate Life organization accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). Federally designated to serve 40 counties in northern California and Nevada, Donor Network West partners with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the state-authorized donor registries. For information, visit www.DonorNetworkWest.org, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.
About National Minority Donor Awareness Week
Observed annually, National Minority Donor Awareness Week was created to increase awareness of the need for more organ, eye, and tissue donors, especially among minorities. Now in its 18th year, this special observance honors minorities who have been donors, and encourages others to register as donors and take better care of their health in order to reduce the number needing a transplant.