On February 10, 1997, two 13-year-old boys were killed on a four wheeler. Ryan Scott Cart was killed instantly. His best friend was flown to Lafayette General Medical Center, where he later died. Pam Cart, Ryan's mom, had agreed to donate her son's corneas and heart for heart valves.
While picking out flowers for her son's casket, Pam received a call from a nurse at the hospital, thanking her for agreeing to the donation. She also told Pam that since she had said yes, her son's friend's family agreed to donation as well.
"It soon will be nine years since Ryan died,” Pam said. "There is not a breath that I take without missing him. Donation has helped in the healing process.” Ryan gave sight to a 23-year-old and a 27-year-old that day. "When I wake up in the mornings, I pray for them, thanking God that they can see the sun rise and set. They can see the things that mean so much to them such as family, flowers, clouds, blue sky, and stars. Most of all, I know they will never forget that a 13-year-old boy gave them sight.”
Two years after Ryan's death, Pam's brother Glenn began dialysis. Glenn had been a diabetic since the age of 16. Pam, her mother, and her other siblings also were diabetic. They wanted to donate a kidney to Glenn, but they couldn't.
For the next two years, Glenn would endure four-hour dialysis treatments. He had to give up his job of coaching and teaching. On April 1, 2001, Glenn received his second chance at life. "I know if a family would not have stepped beyond their grief and said yes, my brother Glenn would no longer be alive today.” A year after his transplant, Glenn returned to the job he loved—coaching and teaching.
"You cannot say yes to organ and tissue donation without it having a positive impact on your life and the lives of those around you.” Before joining LOPA, Pam spent several years working with dialysis patients and as a representative for the Southern Eye Bank.