A Letter from Larry

Some of you may have had a chance to catch last Sunday’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” episode that featured the Tipton-Smith family, whose son was killed in a car accident and was an organ donor (see blog post from Friday, March 9).

Larry from Athens, Illinois sent in a great letter regarding his personal tie to the issue of organ donation in relation to the episode that I wanted to share. We also commend Larry for his efforts in submitting the letter to papers throughout Illinois to help spread the word. Thanks again Larry, this is truly an inspirational letter.


Dear Editor,

An old song tells us that big boys don’t cry. There was probably a time I believed those lyrics. Sunday night as tears streamed down my cheeks, however, I realized how untrue they were.

You see, I was watching “Extreme Makeover, Home Edition” and they were again building a house for a deserving family. The difference in this episode for me was how close it hit home. The family consisted of a Mom, her two young daughters and her son she lost in a tragic car accident. When he was killed, they were in the process of rebuilding their home lost in a fire.

In their immense loss, she consented to organ and tissue donation and his organs saved and enhanced the lives of many, including an 18 year old girl who received his heart.

We lost our son to an aortic aneurysm in Oct. 2004. He was an eye, bone and tissue donor. Knowing this Mom’s pain, I wanted so much be able to offer comfort. It is a real and palpable pain that brought back our pain.

In the latter part of the show, they were able to arrange a meeting with the young girl who received her son’s heart. This moving moment showed, in the most profound way possible, the importance of being an organ and tissue donor. Important not only to the recipient and recipient’s family, but to the donor family as well.

If you are registered to be a donor, thank you from all of the rest of us who may have a need someday. Thank you also from your family, for you have given them an unparalleled measure of comfort to cling to upon your passing.

Life, in all its glory, really does go on through organ and tissue donation. Visit donatelifeillinois.org to register.

-Larry L.
Athens, IL


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