Mia Prebinski

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Taken from Mia's Facebook page:


Les familles recevront les condoléances au salon de la COOPÉRATIVE FUNÉRAIRE DE L’OUTAOUAIS située au 95, boul. Cité-des-Jeunes à Gatineau (secteur Hull), le mercredi 9 avril 2008 de 13 h à 15 h. Suivra une célébration commémorative en présence des cendres.

Quick translation:

The families with receive condolences at the COOPÉRATIVE FUNÉRAIRE DE L’OUTAOUAIS at 95 Cité-des-Jeunes boulevard, in Gatineau (Hull sector), Wednesday 9 April 2008 between 13h and 15h. This will be followed by a rememberance celebration in the presence of the ashes.

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Mia's death was not in vain. Her family consented to the donation of her organs to save the lives of five others. Awesome. From http://www.beacononlinenews.com/dailyitem.php?itemnum=742


Mia's gifts — Skydiver's family donates her organs

Published 4-07-2008

By Jen Horton

Mia Prebinski came to DeLand — the skydiving capital of the world — to jump out of airplanes with the Cat Women: the Canadian Women's International Parachuting Team.

On March 27, the sport that was her passion took her life. Prebinski landed hard at the DeLand Municipal Airport drop zone. She was rushed to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, but died before reaching the hospital.

Her family has turned the tragedy into a life-saving gift for five others.

Mia's uncle, Ed Prebinski, explained: The skydiver's mother, Carolyn Prebinski, left her home in Canada and rushed to Daytona Beach after being notified by the hospital. Because of patient-confidentiality rules, she had been told only that her 24-year-old daughter had been in an accident.

Arriving at Halifax Health, Carolyn Prebinski learned Mia had died. After breaking the news, doctors told her she had just a short time to decide whether to donate Mia's organs to save other lives.

"My sister had everything torn out of her heart," the uncle wrote.

Ed Prebinski said his niece was bubbly, and had been passionate about skydiving since the age of 19.

"She did not really have that much money, and worked, got her paycheck, and spent it on lessons and skydiving flights or equipment," he said.

She was a wonderful young woman who was very close to her mother, he added.

"Coming from a single-parent home, she did all she could to help her mother. They were the best friends," Ed Prebinski said.

His sister made the decision to donate Mia's organs. The harvesting process was quick, and Mia's pancreas, liver, kidney and heart all went to patients in Florida. Her lungs went to North Carolina.

"They have to take all of the organs at once," Ed Prebinski said. "The surgeons from North Carolina flew down there personally."

"Carolyn told me about the transplants, and indicated that Mia lives on in five other people," Ed Prebinski wrote in an e-mail to The Beacon.

He said his niece would have liked that.

According to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, 16 people in Florida die each day because they are unable to have needed organ transplants.

DeLand resident Sonny Cox had a heart transplant eight years ago. He talked about the importance of Mia's family's decision.

"It's the gift of life," Cox said. "Now they're going to live. It's been a prayer that's been answered."

Cox was 54 when he received the heart of an unknown 20-something person. He said he was one of the lucky ones.

"I was only on the list for one year," he said. "There are people who have been on the waiting list for two years or more."

Before the transplant, in that last year of waiting, Cox could barely breathe.

His new lease on life gave him the opportunity to see four grandchildren born, an opportunity to volunteer in the community, to be involved in his church and to develop his hobby — music. It also gave him a new appreciation for each day.

"You live from day to day with no guarantees," he said. "I enjoy life as much as I can. Quoting an old saying, you've just got to stop and smell the roses."

Cox is a member of the West Volusia Transplant Support group. He talks to patients, and helps them navigate the emotions, the fears, the realities, and even the insurance.

Organ donations, such as Mia's, have saved lives in many local families, Cox said.

"In 2006, there were 22 adults in West Volusia that had been transplanted," he said.

That doesn't include children.

Donations are anonymous. The recipient never knows who the donor is, and the donor's family never knows who received the organs. But just because you don't know someone, doesn't mean you can't love them.

"It's the gift of life," Cox said again.

Cox said for he and his family, there is another person forever in their hearts and minds — and prayers.

"If you pray, you don't pray just one prayer anymore," he said. "You pray two, one for the recipient and one for the donor."

Organ donation statistics

• In 2007, in Florida, 1,857 people received organ transplants.

• There are currently more than 3,100 patients listed at one of Florida's transplant centers.

• 16 people on the waiting list die each day because there are no organs available.

Editor's note: Sonny Cox is Jen Horton's stepfather-in-law.

Skydiving Fatalities - Cease not to learn 'til thou cease to live

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