Shawn Elizabeth Guillot

Family Finds Peace in Knowing Their Young Daughter, Shawn Elizabeth, Saved and Healed Six (6) Lives "She was full of life, and in death promotes life still.”

It was the third day of Shawn’s sophomore year. She had just arrived home from school, purple and gold high tops in hand. We talked a little about volleyball tryouts. She didn’t make the team. I was glad she had mustered the courage to at least try. In an attempt to boost her spirits, I asked if she wanted to go and pick up a few things at the grocery store. Having gotten her license only two weeks prior, she responded with her great big, light-up-the-room smile, grabbed the keys and was out the door! I watched as she drove away.

Within minutes of her anticipated return, there was an abrupt knock at the door. It was my neighbor announcing Shawn had been in an accident. We drove the short distance to the site of the head-on collision; Shawn and I were then taken by Air Med to the hospital, where my husband and our two sons, Shannon and Shane, would eventually join us.

Shawn was quickly wheeled through a set of double doors, and we were escorted to a family room where we waited – all night. The next morning, the neurologist entered and very gently told us there was no
brain activity. Shawn had died. I was in a state of denial and then shock, not wanting to believe what I had just heard.

My husband, Don, courageously broached the subject of organ donation. I was devastated and refused to listen. I simply was not ready to let go, and certainly not mentally capable of thinking of anyone or anything else.

I withdrew to the chapel, pleading and bargaining with God. Reluctantly, I surrendered. Reaching out for His guidance, I was instantly flooded with a sense of deep peace, and suddenly overcome by the realization, "if the situation were reversed, we would have been praying for someone else to have made that life-affirming decision”. We moved forward with certainty.

At the tender age of fifteen, our Shawn left quite a legacy! Her heart went to a 58-year-old father, her left kidney and pancreas went to a 24-year-old gentleman, her right kidney went to a 37-year-old school
teacher, mother of three, and her liver went to a 42-year-old registered nurse, mother of two. Shawn’s corneas were successfully transplanted, giving sight to two people. Her legacy continues …

Twenty-four (24) years later, we are ardent advocates for donation. As guest speakers, we encourage others to consider donation and stress having a family discussion; most importantly to "register” as organ, eye, and tissue donors so that their life-giving wishes are known and recorded. We also participate in the Rabalais Run for Life, as Team Shawn Elizabeth, with family and friends taking the Largest Team Award
the 1st year, and the 2013 Best Team Uniform designed by our then fifteen year old Granddaughter, who we affectionately refer to as "Little Shawn”. In keeping with promoting life, her creative mind used the words, "Share ~ Enlighten ~ Give”, derived from the initials S.E.G., in the design. Pretty clever don’t you think!

In sharing this story, I have tried to capture the suddenness, the family struggle, the parental pain, the faith, and above all, the "ultimate willingness to overcome death by contributing to life”. We are grateful to God for His amazing grace in finding the courage to say "YES” to our Shawn’s Gifts.

Peggy Bahry Guillot – Donor Mom
Mother of Shawn Elizabeth 7-5-76 – 8-29-91