Family Ties: A Legacy of Generosity

The Varney family has a tradition.

When someone passes away, they break out a bottle of champagne and toast to volunteerism, because as Tiff Varney says “that’s what makes our country great.”

The Arnold, Nebraska family’s generosity and sense of duty to others has not been lost on Nebraka Organ Recovery. Tiff’s 21 year-old son, Thomas “Moose” Varney, saved five lives, gave sight to two others and enhanced countless lives through tissue donation following his tragic death in 2006.

Following Moose’s donation, Tiff and his wife Barb became advocates for donation, sharing their experience whenever possible with the local media and community groups. In 2008, the Varneys testified before the Nebraska legislature, helping succesfully pass a measure that prevents coroners from restricting donation in deaths that involve an investigation.

Tiff says donation gave the Varney family their “biggest hope,” changing the negative of his death to something positive, keeping Moose’s memory alive. “He’s not forgotten. People use his name every day.”

Last December, tragedy struck the Varney family again when Barb passed away suddenly. The woman known for her compassion, heart and will to help anyone continues to make a difference through her gift of tissue donation.

Tiff refers to donation as “tough love,” acknowledging the heartbreak of his loss, but also the difference it has made for his family, and him personally. “The compassion that people have...it makes you a better person. You appreciate living every day.”

Posted: December 28, 2017

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