But as story after story comes to me about the people who are affected and given another chance at life, my heart has changed.
One story recently shows what an impact just a little check in a box can make. Last summer, July 2010, a wonderful, healthy, good-looking boy was just living his life. Brandon Curtis had lettered in 3 sports that year at his Springville High School. After football practice, he was goofing around with some members of his team of which he was captain. They were driving in the parking lot, doing donuts in a jeep. Not exactly the smartest thing, but something not unlike what any teenage kid is prone to do with his buddies. Believe me, as a teenager, I've done some pretty stupid things myself. The difference is that somehow, I'm still here, while Brandon lost his life that day when their jeep rolled and he was pinned underneath.
This was not an ordinary kid by any means. This was a boy who thought about everyone. "Brandon was the kind of person that if you couldn't finish running your quarter mile and he was done, he would come back and run with you and help you." -Conrad Beach, 15, teammate
"Brandon loved to bake and cook. I'm a lunch lady and Brandon would bake and make cookies for me. He was a friend to everybody." -Cheryl Beutler, family friend
"brandon was a good friend to me he was there when no body else wanted to talk to me he made me feel like i was part of the group and i always went to the games to support him he is going to be missed by all who knew him" -elisia, friend
It was because of who Brandon was, that his father wasn't surprised that he had chosen to be an organ donor. And with that decision he was able to help 6 people continue on in their own lives.
Because of privacy laws, Brandon's parents weren't given the names of those who Brandon had helped, but one day it happened anyway. Marlee Dalton walked into the Reams grocery store where Brandon's mother, Dianne Curtis works. She was looking for information about Brandon Curtis so she could visit his grave. Instead she ran into his mother and told her this story. As she was in the hospital waiting for her kidney and pancreas that was to be donated by Brandon Curtis, she closed her eyes and saw a young man facing her. It startled her. It was only later after reading about Brandon and seeing his picture that she realized it had been him. (That brings chills to me) She was able to meet his mother by coincidence (?) and thank her and tell her about this experience. In addition to Marlee, a 10-year old boy received a kidney, a 27-year old father received a liver, a 66-year-old man got a new heart, a 44-year-old man received two lungs, and one other woman was also a beneficiary of Brandon's generosity in death.
There are many more examples of how one choice can mean so much to so many. And while I don't want to be in a position to make this gesture anytime soon, it's nice to know that I might be able to count for a little bit more good on this earth before I'm finally laid to rest someday! In the meantime, thank you Brandon and all like you, for seeing the needs of others and acting on their behalf, even after you're gone.