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A Hero In Every Sense Of The Word

Slain detective’s organ donation an example to all

We all have heroes; we just define them in different ways.

There is no question, in life, Detective Marc Anthony DiNardo served his community bravely and selflessly. His daily acts of heroism then, are matched only by his final act of heroism now. His exceptional legacy will endure through the gift of life he so selflessly gave to New Jerseyans waiting for life-saving organs. Through this gracious gift, we hope that his family, friends, colleagues on the police force and the members of his community gain solace and begin to heal.

Detective DiNardo has placed the issue of organ and tissue donation on the pages of newspapers and in nightly newscasts. In the last month, The NJ Sharing Network’s Web site has experienced a tremendous surge in interest from people inspired by his heroism. He serves as an example of how vitally important the decision to donate can be.

In Det. DiNardo’s case, the decision was not an agonizing one made by family members engulfed in a cloud of profound grief. It was a premeditated and moral decision made in advance by a man who understood the very real gift we all hold the power to give.

For the roughly 4,500 people in New Jersey currently waiting for an organ donation, making the decision to be a donor is one that can truly save lives. Det. DiNardo has now given some very fortunate people the chance to experience all life has to offer.

Equally valuable, is the conversation that he has helped ignite. It’s not just about encouraging people to register to be donors, it’s also about encouraging the conversation to occur now. As I’ve said before, the greatest way to encourage organ donation is to move the discussion out of the emergency room and into the living room so that a thoughtful and rational decision can be reached and family members can be well aware of their loved ones’ wishes.

Det. DiNardo has gotten people talking about an issue that isn’t always an easy one for people to discuss. While it was never his intent to end up in the newspaper this way, he is representative of the many silent heroes that exist. His generosity reminds us that there are people who do this all the time that go unmentioned. So in honor of his heroism, it’s my hope that we can all find a way to work through the discomfort and awkwardness surrounding the conversation, and start the discussion now.

In our state, in particular, the decision to become a donor has been simplified through the New Jersey Hero Act. This landmark legislation allows each of us an opportunity to become a hero simply by making our wishes known when obtaining or renewing a driver’s license or identification card or by registering online at

This process allows everyone the opportunity to make an informed decision in advance, removing the burden from grieving family members. Registering to be an organ and tissue donor is an amazing responsibility, but more importantly, an amazing gift. In honor of Detective DiNardo and the families of organ and tissue donors who have touched thousands of lives – be a hero – register to be an organ and tissue donor today.