My brother, Blake, died of a head injury sustained from automobile accident on June 11, 2000. He was 19 years old. While we were at the hospital, our family was asked to consider organ donation by a LifeSource advocate. The tremendous loss and grief made it difficult for us to make an immediate decision. We were struck by such disbelief, guilt, angriness, and sorrow by the loss. Our hearts hurt so incredibly bad that we felt suffocated and weak. The decision to donate, at that time, was far beyond our comprehension. We asked the advocate if we could have some time to discuss it among our family.
Following much lengthy and tearful discussion, Blake’s close friend brought it to our attention that Blake had already chosen to be an organ donor on his driver’s license. We knew, without a doubt, this was indeed what Blake would have wanted us to choose. He was one of the most generous individuals we have ever known. Blake lived and loved life to his fullest in 19 short years. He became the 19th organ donor from North Dakota that year.
Blake’s gift of his heart, liver, kidney and pancreas saved four lives. In addition, his decision to donate has given our family hope and the opportunity to survive such a remarkable loss. In 2011, Blake’s heart recipient, along with his family, invited our family to meet for the first time. Blake’s spirit swirled around this man when we first met him. Words do not justify how it feels to see someone get a second chance to live and function because of your brother’s heart. Best of all, we were able to listen to Blake’s heart with a stethoscope 11 years after he died.
We find a sense of peace knowing Blake’s legacy will continue through his decision to be an organ donor. Praise to the Lord for Blake’s life and the opportunity for others to share his life.
Ashley Peterson, Donor’s Sister and Trails4Transplants Co-founder