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Wisconsin woman honored for organ donation work

BEAVER DAM, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin woman has turned the tragic death of her teenage daughter into a life mission to raise awareness and educate about organ donation.

Dawn Lyons-Wood received the 2018 Crystal Vision Award from the Lions Eye Bank of Wisconsin in March, The Daily Citizen reported. The award honors three individuals annually for their commitment and dedication to raising awareness for eye, organ and tissue donation.

Her daughter, Emily Lyons, was 19 when she died in 2015 following a snowmobile accident.

Lyons had signed up to be an organ, tissue and eye donor when she got her driver's license. Lyons-Wood's said her daughter was able to save six people's lives, with the transplants of her heart, both kidneys, pancreas, small intestine and liver. Her eyes helped someone in Wisconsin, while more than 60 people in 22 states benefited from her tissue donation.

"Emmy gave us something positive to focus on instead of our grief," Lyons-Wood said. "She continues to share her wisdom every day and I will be forever grateful."

Lyons-Wood became a certified volunteer for the UW Organ and Tissue Donation service. She regularly speaks at a driving school in Beaver Dam about organ donation.

"Being a donor mom gives more purpose to my life," Lyons-Wood said. "I feel like I am being honored for breathing."

Lyons was an aspiring optometrist who'd been slated to join the Lions Club at UW-La Crosse, which supports many sight related charities. Instead, her mother was inducted into the Beaver Dam Lions Club in August.

"Part of what I do now is try to fulfill all of her commitments," Lyons-Wood said. "I always knew I should join the Lions Club because she didn't get to, but I had to wait until I was ready."

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