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David Manuel

The Art of Thanks

“...He noted that first came the date of birth and spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years...” - the Dash Poem by Linda Ellis

David Manuel has a lot to be thankful for these days, and he lives each day to its fullest.  I was fortunate enough to steal a few moments of his time to hear what makes his heart smile.

Thankful for Fatherhood- Mention his children and Manuel lights up.  When he talks about them, it exudes a pride and admiration that makes you want to meet them. It is apparent he loves them deeply and they bring him extreme joy.  “If I weren’t their father, they would be the kind of children I would want...”  It’s the love for them, and wanting to be a part of their future lives that kept him going during one of his darkest hours.

Thankful for Life- Manuel is a liver transplant recipient and he understands just how challenging it is to find a match. Manuel gets a little quiet. You know he is reminiscing about a scary moment.  He recalls Walter Peyton, an NFL star, asking for a liver donation.  Manuel pauses as he acknowledges that for Peyton one never came.  Surely, this thought was on his mind as he was faced with needing a liver transplant.  Manuel says he understood that his prognosis, knowing the rarity of finding a match, he began to make peace with his higher power, making sure his children knew he loved them.  Manuel had nearly completed all of his “goodbyes” when his miracle arrived.

Thankful for Sharing- Every year in April, Manuel dons blue and green agree attire and along with thousands of others, celebrate National Organ Donate Life Month.  “I will never tire of telling my story,” he says. Manuel is careful to share the importance of organ donation and encourages minorities to consider this potential lifesaving gift.   This is a message that more minorities need to hear, as so many spend longer time on dialysis and waiting for the miracle that is an organ donation.

Thankful for the Future- With a new lease on life, Manuel is a very enthusiastic Director of Arts and Culture for Fulton County.  The first thing he did was meet with county commissioners and ask what they wanted to see from arts in the county.  This resulted in more outreach efforts across the entire county and a new initiative of forty days of FACE (Fashion Art Culture Education), participation in Atlanta Fashion Week, Atlanta Sustainable Fashion Week, (Manuel wants Fulton County to be at the top of discussion when people consider top fashions), Teen Talk with over 300 students having access to TI and Kenny Burns learning about how they could get started in the arts.

Fulton County is thankful to have such an impactful force at the helm. 

Interested in organ donation? Every 10 minutes another person is added to the national waiting list (  You could be the miracle someone desperately needs, consider organ and tissue donation.  Visit or for more info.