I am a donor's mother and I'd love to tell you our story. Garrett was a vibrant 6-year-old boy, filled with energy and bright as the sun. He was quite a charmer with twinkling blue eyes, a freckly nose, and big ol' dimples.
He loved cars of any kind: fancy, tricked-out cars, fast race cars, or big monster trucks. As most moms of 6-year-old boys, I was exhausted by the end of a day of trying to keep up with Garrett and his brother, Avery. And the summer of 2007 was full of fun and activity for our family.
We are a year-round sports family. It’s football in the fall, basketball in the winter, and baseball the summer. In 2007, Garrett played his second year of tee-ball. With an October birthday, Garrett was always the oldest and biggest in his age group. Needless to say, he could wallop a baseball. We were all so excited when he made All-Stars that summer. His team ended up coming in runners-up in their tournament.
Mid-summer brought our church’s vacation Bible school, of which I was the director. It was a busy, fun-filled week spent learning about God’s love for us. On the last day, our family was at the church early, preparing for the evening. Garrett and his little brother, Avery, were playing when Garrett fell and was injured. Such a trooper, Garrett finished out the evening. As he prepared for bed, it became obvious something was wrong.
We took Garrett to the emergency room and things did not look good. The next day, the pediatric intensivist confirmed the grim prognosis. He suggested we consider donating Garrett’s organs. Tests confirmed brain death and I jumped at the chance to have something good come out of such a painful situation.
My husband, Patrick, and I decided to donate Garrett’s heart, liver, and kidneys, which ended up helping four children. But, after that, it became my mission to help spread donation awareness. Patrick and I both agreed that, had we known more before we were faced with the decision at such a difficult time, we would have chosen to help more.
On July 29, 2007, Garrett became a hero. His organs were recovered and transplanted into young bodies that needed them. His donation continues to give us comfort on the bad days. And, though we have yet to meet any recipients, I know there are grateful families who won’t have to endure the same heartache we did.
There is no doubt that "G” touched many people in his brief stay on Earth, as was evidenced by the outpouring of love and concern we received from the community. He continues to live on in the hearts of those who knew him and in the lives of those who received his precious gift.