A woman who gave her husband’s organs for transplant after he died in a car crash has received a heartwarming message from one of the patients she helped save 10 years after her tragic loss.
Heartbroken Marina Fontanna lost her husband Roberto Cona on 10th July 2013 when their car was hit by a truck during a holiday in Careggi, Italy.
Marina was seriously injured but survived the crash and was determined that some good should come from it.
Now – a decade later – she has received a touching message from a man she saved with her husband’s liver.
The email sent on 27th July reads: “Hi Marina, you don’t know me, let me introduce myself: I’m Luigi and 10 years ago your husband saved my life.”
It carried on: “Tomorrow it will have been 10 years since I had a liver transplant at the Cisanello hospital in Pisa.
“Your husband will always be my angel!
“In all these years, I have always had a Mass celebrated for Roberto, but I only had the courage to write to you now.
“Thank you very much!”
Luigi explained: “Since December 2013 I’ve been on the computer to track down those who had donated their organs since I was doing photopheresis (a blood treatment medicine) in Cinisello, I learned that my organ came from Careggi.
“I received a call from the hospital at 8.30 pm telling me that I had to be in the hospital by 11.30 pm for preparation.”
Luigi would have died days later without the transplant, according to Italian media.
He added: “My daughter helped me write to you because I couldn’t write due to my emotion.
“Thanks to his generosity I came back to life. Thanks to you and all of Roberto’s family with a big big big hug.”
Luigi’s daughter – who has not been named – also wrote to Marina, saying: “Your husband will always be the angel of our family.
“Thanks to his gesture, my two brothers and I still have a father!”
She added: “A few days before dad’s transplant we were certain that if a miracle did not happen, dad would die, because in addition to his very serious physical condition, his health problems had also affected his brain and he had not been able to recognise us for a while.
“Thanks to your husband, thanks to you who allowed it, we still have a father.”
Marina’s decision to donate her husband’s organs, including his liver, lungs and kidneys, saved at least six people, according to Italian media.
She said: “I suffered a lot. Today I am serene, but I had to go through a path of pain and recovery from the aftermath of the accident that was not easy: you never become a rock.
“But with the love of those who really love you, my wonderful family, and with faith, you can try and even succeed slowly.
“Today I hope that it was the same for the other transplant recipients and that they too are well, and happy.”
But the heartfelt thanks stirred bitter-sweet memories for Marina.
She recalled the day of the crash, saying: “We were in a queue on the motorway, with my husband, we were travelling from Milan to Sicily, and had stopped due to a queue of cars caused by roadworks, at kilometre 260 in Tuscany near Florence, between Rioveggio and Barberino.”
She added: “A Turkish lorry driver hit us violently, hitting our Lancia Thesis with the destructive power of a bomb. And 12 hours later at the Careggi hospital in Florence, where at 1.15 pm on 27 July 2013 both Roberto and I arrived, in very serious condition, my husband died. They call it brain death. We donated his organs.”
Marina explained: “A few seconds of irresponsible madness were enough, by an immoral driver, who drove his lorry without any respect for the rules of the road. Without any attention to people’s lives to change the life of a newly formed family.
“Roberto and I had only one year and three months of marriage and we wanted a child. This child was never born.”
She said that the Turkish lorry driver “changed my destiny and that of my family forever, without ever paying or apologising for what he did.”
But at least now she can take some solace in the knowledge that in death, her husband saved the lives of at least six other people.