This is a story of two women brought together by an unintended consequence of the opioid epidemic. As of late 2017, as the number of deaths skyrocketed, about one out of every 10 organ donors had died of an overdose.

When 21-year-old Adam Shay overdosed on heroin in 2014, his pancreas and kidney were donated to a stranger, Karen Goodwin, who was a recovering addict herself. At the time of her transplant, she had been sober for 13 years.

Karen reached out to Adam’s mother, Marlene Shay, a year after his death. They sat down for this conversation at StoryCorps in Beachwood, Ohio.


Originally aired November 17, 2017, on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Bottom image: Karen Goodwin and Marlene Shay at StoryCorps in Beachwood, OH.