Donor Family Receives Early Valentine

The Aurora Beacon-News ran a great story today about a unique scenario where a local donor’s parents were contacted by one of their child’s recipients. Check out the full story below.

In addition, be sure to take a moment to read this obituary for Marvin Reznik that ran in the Tribune. Marvin was an incredible volunteer for Gift of Hope and both a donor family member and a recipient. He will be sorely missed by all.


Read full story here.

‘Your son saved my life’
February 13, 2008

BY DENISE CROSBY Managing Editor

It was a Saturday night that I received a call …
Midmorning on Sunday, a gurney was brought to my room …

Dylan Richardson, 7, of Aurora, died after a car accident last July. His family donated his organs through Gift of Hope.

It was then I learned my donor was a 7-year-old little boy and due to his youth, I was to receive both kidneys. My wife Terrie and I burst into tears, knowing you were bearing unbelievable grief …

You could say the letter that recently arrived in Dan and Lisa Richardson’s mailbox was an early Valentine. The man from Kansas who was the recipient of their little boy’s kidneys had written powerful words that came straight from the heart.

I know your loss is immense and nothing can be said or done to provide the comfort you need. Your son saved my life. My hope is that you find joy and solace in knowing he lives through me.
Dylan Richardson, who would have been a second-grader at Hall Elementary School in Aurora, died last July, a couple of days after he was injured in a two-car accident at the corner of Sullivan and Orchard roads. Moments after taking his last breath at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, the family made the decision to replicate his tiny hand via a white plaster mold and to donate his organs through Gift of Hope.

Both decisions have brought the family great comfort.

The model hand sits in a display case next to his ashes in their home on Aurora’s West Side.
Even more meaningful to the family who loved Dylan so much: In North Carolina, a 13-year-old girl has a new heart; a 15-year-old Illinois boy received a liver; and a 65-year-old man from Kansas was given two kidneys.

And as they recently found out, that man wasn’t just any ordinary Joe.

According to the letter — forwarded through Gift of Hope — Dylan’s kidney recipient had spent most of his adult life helping children through the Shriners at the Burn Centers and Shriners Crippled Children’s Hospital. He was also active in Scottish Rite, a part of the Masonic organization that helps children with speech and hearing problems.

“Joe,” his wife told him when the couple found out about the small boy’s kidneys, “one of your little guys is helping you.”

And that makes the Richardsons smile.

We’re glad Dylan was able to help such an honorable person, Dan Richardson wrote in the reply sent to Joe on Monday. We hope Dylan’s kidneys work well for you, have relieved you of your yellow skin, any pain you may have been experiencing, and most of all, have allowed you to get back to enjoying life and your family, and continue your work with the children.

The letter from Joe is the first time the Richardsons have heard from any of Dylan’s organ recipients. They hope this correspondence is just the beginning. Dan would like to someday find out Joe’s last name and the Kansas town he calls home. He and Lisa hope someday to meet him. And maybe someday — after all, who knows what the future holds — there will be other ways their stories can reach out to others and make a difference.

Until then, the Richardsons are happy they now have a name. And a face. And a connection so powerful there’s no way you or I can fully understand it.

… our son is now part of you … considering your history with children makes this relationship even more special. Perhaps your wife Terrie was correct: Your little friends’ prayers were heard and answered for you.

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One Response to Donor Family Receives Early Valentine

  1. Sarah says:

    Wow! That’s a great story.

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