Thomas Sinkora loved technology. As an ambitious photographer and editor at an Albany television station, the friendly, outgoing 26-year-old was achieving his dreams in short order. He hosted a podcast and had a passion for playing video games.
When Thomas was renewing his license, he was presented with the opportunity to enroll as an organ and tissue donor. He had a conversation with his mother Jeanette, who explained how a neighbor had donated his organs following a fatal motorcycle accident. Her words of encouragement helped “Tommy” know what to do next — he checked “yes” to enrolling in the New York State Donate Life Registry on his renewal form.
Sadly, in late December 2019 Tommy’s life was tragically cut short due to an accidental fentanyl poisoning while attending a festival in Philadelphia. Because of the conversation Tommy had with his mother, a devastating loss turned into a life-affirming moment. Tommy’s decision to register as an organ and tissue donor saved the lives of four people.
Though they have yet to meet in person due to the pandemic, Jeanette has connected with two of the transplant recipients.
“For me, I love knowing that there are people that continue to carry him on,” said Jeanette. “A little bit of him still exists out in the world.”
Approaching the three-year anniversary of Tommy’s passing, Jeanette is taking an active volunteer role with Donate Life New York State and vows to keep her son’s legacy alive by encouraging people to register as organ, eye, and tissue donors. Already a donor family member, Jeanette now has another personal connection to the Donate Life mission – her brother-in-law is currently on the transplant waiting list for a kidney.
Jeanette plans to take advantage of every opportunity necessary to spread the word. “I tell everybody my story,” she said, adding, “whether they want to hear it or not.”