Gerardo and Rhoda Ramos

Our daughter Michelle Ramos or “Shell” as we fondly called her was mesmerized by life and love. She was a deep thinker who kept a journal to document her thoughts and philosophies on matters close to her heart. Shell loved intensely and was on a journey to better understand herself and the world around her.

Shell grew up in the metro D.C. area and worked in the service industry. She was a daughter, sister, friend and Aunt. On the exterior, she was the life of every party, but she also had a secret side to her where she enjoyed spending time alone reading, writing and being creative. Shell brought people together and shared her wisdom, advice and infamous catchphrases with others. She encouraged people to find joy in the small things, to love each other and most importantly to love themselves.

In November 2020, we got a phone call that changed everything. Shell was in grave condition at the hospital after sustaining a traumatic injury. We rushed to the hospital to be by her side. Doctors did everything they could to save her life but after a few days and a lot of prayers, we lost our baby girl at the young age of 25.

We were heartbroken and devastated. But before we left the hospital to begin making funeral arrangements there was a silver lining. We met with representatives from Washington Regional Transplant Community (WRTC), the local non-profit organ procurement organization (OPO) that facilitates the organ donation process, and we decided to donate Shell’s organs to help other people.

We are so proud Shell saved fives lives by donating her kidneys, heart, liver and lungs. One of the most miraculous and beautiful things that happened amidst our grief is one of her kidneys was a match for a woman at our church who desperately needed a transplant.

We were able to work with WRTC to do a directed donation, which is incredibly rare. Out of the 154 organ donations facilitated by WRTC in 2021, only five were directed donations. How wonderful that our daughter was able to save the life of someone she knew. When we go to church and see the recipient’s family it is a reminder to us of Shell’s big heart and lasting legacy.

Michelle Ramos

Her soul lives on in the five people she saved and in every one of us who loved her, and it will only grow stronger as we keep her in our thoughts.

April is National Donate Life Month, a time to encourage people to register as organ and tissue donors and to celebrate those who have saved lives through the gift of donation like our Shell. People are dying every day because the organ they need isn’t donated in time. Right now, nearly 2,000 people in the metro D.C. area are waiting for the lifesaving call that an organ is available for them.

One organ and tissue donor could save and heal more than 75 lives. Be part of the miracle and make the legal decision to register to be a donor today at and let your loved ones know your wishes.

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1 Comment

  1. My love and prayers to your entire family. I am so moved by the generosity you have demonstrated in the most painful of times. I am so sorry for your loss as well. What a wonderful young lady.

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