NJ Sharing Network Encourages Everyone to “Share the Love” on National Donor Day

Mae Howard of Monroe Township discusses NJ Sharing Network’s life-saving mission and her “Love Connection” as she looks back on 20 years since her life-saving heart transplant

February 8, 2023

MONROE TOWNSHIP, NJ (MIDDLESEX) /New Providence, NJ – February 14 is all about sharing the love in New Jersey – and not just because it is Valentine’s Day!

National Donor Day is observed annually to spread awareness and education about organ and tissue donation. NJ Sharing Network and its local healthcare partners and volunteers throughout the state are working on activities and events to honor organ and tissue donor heroes, recognize those who have received a transplant, and provide hope for New Jerseyans currently waiting for the gift of life.

On February 13 at 6pm, all are welcome to join LIVE on Facebook and YouTube for NJ Sharing Network’s online panel discussion entitled, “Share the Love! Inspiring Stories from Those Touched by Organ and Tissue Donation.” This interactive forum will allow viewers to post questions and comments throughout the event to join the conversation. For more information on ways to get involved and share the love during National Donor Day, visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org/donor-day.


National Donor Day is deeply personal for NJ Sharing Network’s partners, advocates and volunteers who are motivated to save and enhance the lives of those in need. Mae and Russell Howard of Monroe Township will be two of the featured guests on the “Share the Love” online panel discussion. In 2022, Mae celebrated the 20th anniversary of her life-saving heart transplant. The following is a summary of Mae and Russell’s amazing connection:

Mae and Russell Howard of Monroe Township, NJ

Making life-saving connections has always been a part of our mission at NJ Sharing Network. But NJ Sharing Network played a key role in making a true LOVE connection for Mae and Russell Howard.

“I remember we were randomly matched up to share our personal stories during a community fair at Keyport High School,” said Mae. “I knew right away there was something very special about him, and we became instant friends.”

Mae was inspired to become a volunteer a few years after her successful heart transplant surgery in 2002. She felt blessed and grateful that her health had been fully restored. At that time, she also wanted to teach her children about the importance of giving back and getting involved in our local communities.

Russell’s link to NJ Sharing Network came after his wife Patty passed away. While Russell and his two children were devastated, they found some relief in knowing that Patty’s gifts helped save and enhance the lives of others.

“By volunteering together, we could discuss all sides of donation and transplantation to fully educate others,” said Mae. “We were also able to share some common experiences.”

Mae and Russell’s friendship soon turned into true love. They recently celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary, and their loving family has multiplied with five grandchildren!

“I have always said NJ Sharing Network blessed me with two hearts – the one that beats inside me, and the other that shares my life and surrounds my new heart with love,” said Mae.


NJ Sharing Network is the federally designated nonprofit organization responsible for the recovery and placement of donated organs and tissue in the Garden State. NJ Sharing Network provides hope for nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents currently waiting for a life-saving transplant, and it is part of the national recovery system for the over 100,000 people on the national waiting list. Last year, 283 organ donor heroes in New Jersey gave the gift of life resulting in 670 life-saving organs transplanted, an all-time high for a single year. In addition, 40,000 eye and tissue gifts enhanced the quality of life for those in need. With headquarters in New Providence, NJ, the organization has been recognized by NJBIZ as one of the state’s “Best Places to Work” for five consecutive years. To learn more, get involved and register as an organ and tissue donor, visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org.

Mae and Russell Howard of Monroe Township, NJ

(Photo Credit: Courtesy of NJ Sharing Network)