Personal reasons inspire Tampa family to help raise money for organ transplant recipients

A mom and her daughter's mission for N.O.T.E.

TAMPA - Folks waited for a trim at Capelo's Salon off Sheldon Road in Tampa. 

But unlike most days, employees and customers alike were decked out in the same t -shirt, intent on raising money for the same cause:  The National Organization Transplant Enlightenment or N.O.T.E. "It's an organization that helps people who have had transplants pay for their monthly medications cause they have to pay for it for the rest of their lives."

Makenzi Capelo-Fine and her mom, the salon owner, got interested after meeting customers - both donors and recipients, like Denis who needed a new heart.  "The new heart has been great.  I've been lucky enough to see my sons grow up, get married.  I saw grandchildren. That, I would never have done."

And Tammy - who got a kidney from both her sister, and 23 years later, her brother. "When you go on dialysis, your sitting there for a couple of hours. You can't do anything.  When you're done, you're so tired you go home and sleep for a couple of days, then you start all over again.  Now I'm back to country line dancing, working almost anything I want.  I love it."

But the family's fundraising efforts really hit home this summer - when Makenzi lost her brother, Matthew, in a car accident.  He was only 16, but already an organ donor.  "So far he's helped 8 people."  Matthew's saved two people's eyesight, helped with 5 skin graphs and donated a large artery. 

Makenzi says she'll carry on his legacy as a spokesperson for organ donation. His thoughts - but now her words. "It's what he believed in."

And there's one important detail they both wanted to pass on, "It can really save someone's life.  And just because you're an organ donor on your license, it doesn't mean that your family has to let you donate your organs after death, so let  your family know that's really what you want to do, so they will donate your organs."

So far, the family says they've raised $14,000.

You can still donate to N.O.T.E. at

Keep up with Linda Hurtado on Facebook at .

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