City worker recalls tissue donation that keeps him going

Published 4:53 pm Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Twelve years ago, Steve Winburn got up early one morning to play basketball at the YMCA.

About the third time down the court, something popped in his knee. Whenever he put pressure on it, the joint would buckle under pressure. It didn’t hurt that badly, but walking was difficult. Something was obviously wrong.

He went home and asked his wife, a physical therapist, to take a look at it. After a doctor visit and an MRI, his ACL was completely severed. If it wasn’t replaced soon, Winburn wouldn’t be able to walk correctly ever again.

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Today, Winburn is walking just fine. Shortly after his accident, a patella tendon donated by a 27-year-old replaced the torn ligament in his knee. It’s a good thing, too, because as Public Services Director for the City of Bainbridge, Winburn averages more than 12,000 steps a day.

“I think by people donating their organs and tissue, it can help people like me or other people resume a normal lifestyle any other way,” said Winburn. “I’m very thankful.”

Winburn himself is an organ donor, too. One of his neighbors just recently received a lung transplant, another reminder to him that organ and tissue donation can save and enhance lives.

Tuesday, Winburn and Lifelink of Georgia spokeswoman June Faircloth spoke to the Decatur County Board of Commissioners. The Board officially declared April as Donate Life Month in Decatur County and read a proclamation to announce it.

“I think sometimes we get so removed. We talk about the proclamations and know how important it is. But to see it in the everyday lives of our coworker and our neighbors, I think it makes a difference to be able to put a face with what’s going on,” said Faircloth.

Faircloth also brought along a group of certified volunteers with Lifelink of Georgia with her to visit with the Board of Commissioners.