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Eleanor Vincent’s debut memoir, Swimming with Maya: A Mother’s Story, poignantly describes the death of her 19-year-old daughter in a horse riding accident and the subsequent donation of Maya’s organs to strangers in need. Eleanor’s meeting with the man who received Maya’s heart, and their ensuing friendship, is described in her memoir. The book is a New York Times e-book bestseller and was nominated for the Independent Publisher of the Year award. Her poetry and essays have been published in several collections, including Creative Nonfiction’s anthology, At the End of Life, and This I Believe: On Motherhood.
She holds an MFA from Mills College in Creative Nonfiction and has taught there as a visiting writer. She is a member of the Author’s Guild and the San Francisco Writers Grotto. Eleanor encourages others to tap their innate resilience by freeing the creator within. Her work inspiring other donor families was recognized with a community service award from the California Transplant Donor Network.

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Radical Generosity

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” – The Dalai Lama I’ve always thought of myself as a kind person. But in my fourth decade of life, I learned what true kindness is. A brain surgeon had just asked me if I would give my daughter’s vital organs to strangers. Maya, 19, had been declared brain dead and doctors had signed her death certificate. They were preparing to remove the machines keeping her heart pumping and her lungs breathing. I was frozen with grief, paralyzed by anguish I thought I would never outlive. But I heard myself say…

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