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7,689,442 New Yorkers have joined the NYS Donate Life Registry

Tammy Giovannone, Organ, Eye & Tissue Donor

Tammy Giovannone, of Glenville, loved all creatures great and small. Cats. Dogs. Birds. Mice. You name it. Tammy devoted her life to her pets and animal rescue. She always had room for at least a few dogs and a handful of cats in her home. She volunteered to feed and fix stray cats that roamed her neighborhood. Her passion for pets ran so deep that she managed a local PetSmart just to surround herself with all the animals there, recalled her daughter-in-law, Kylie Giovannone.

“A huge pet lover. Huge,” said Kylie when asked to describe Tammy.

“She loved animals. That was the one thing undoubtedly that was her favorite thing in the world, besides her children and grandchildren. But a close second.”

Tammy’s kindness was not limited to her furry, feathered, and human family. Kylie fondly remembered Tammy as a “kind-hearted, loving, caring person” who could light up a room and make everyone laugh. She frequently sought to cheer up others who needed support or just a hug. “She was just someone who was always there for people.” 

So it seems only fitting that a woman equally devoted to people and pets would give the gift of life upon her untimely death at age 53.

Tammy died in March 2022 after suffering a head injury earlier that winter. She had sought medical attention and doctors discovered a severe brain aneurysm. Just five days before her scheduled surgery, the aneurysm suddenly burst. Despite their best efforts to save her life, doctors pronounced Tammy brain dead and shared the sad news with her stunned family.

Amid the shock came a silver lining. Prior to her passing, Tammy shared her wishes with Kylie and her husband, Nate, that she wanted to be an organ donor should the surgery have an adverse outcome. The couple, both proud registered organ donors, recalled the conversation on the way home from the hospital after receiving the news.

“She knew and we knew there were so many people waiting for organs that had been waiting for so long,” said Kylie. Ultimately, Tammy donated both her kidneys, liver and lungs, saving the lives of three people and healing countless others through eye and tissue donation.

Kylie recognizes that Tammy’s selfless act extends far beyond those individuals given a second chance at life. “You’ve got to figure that it touches not just those people, but their families and friends who can have them for how much longer because they were given a gift.”

When asked if she and her husband find solace in knowing the lifesaving legacy Tammy left, Kylie described the reassurance she feels.

“Somebody else is able to have Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, other holidays, functions, or birthdays because of the gift that she was able to give. Somebody else got to celebrate one more year with their kids, with their parents because of what she was able to for them.”

Tammy, who loved pets and people equally with such passion, would have wanted it that way.