Steve Ferkau’s post the other day about Samantha Joos reminded me to feature Samantha here as part of our Illinois Donor Diaries. Last Friday, Steve and Samantha’s Dad, Tim, were able to present to the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine. The audience was comprised of 400 high school juniors all around the age of 17 – the same age Samantha was when she was killed in November 2003 on her way to school by a semi-truck spinning out of control in an early morning rainstorm.
When Laura (Steve’s wife) comes to these, she takes a chair in a front corner and watches the audience reaction… Though Tim gave the “please close your eyes” instructions — she didn’t… She turned and watched the audience… She said the group of girls behind her were just sobbing… She saw boys with their head in their hands… A few people had to leave — later we found out there were six who left — it was just too much for them… His presentation to kids this age is just incredibly powerful…”
She was 17 years, nine-and-half months old, and a senior in high school when she died. Sam, you are very generous. We were able to carry out your wishes, and you were a tissue donor. You saved and improved the lives of others by donating heart valves, spine, bone, and other tissues. Another person’s life was saved because they received a heart valve replacement, thanks to you. We miss you, Sunshine, and we will always love you.