Today we bring you the latest entry from our Illinois Donor Diaries about a special little boy named Dylan. Thank you for sharing Dan.
The second anniversary of Dylan’s accident and passing is fast approaching. Dylan, my son, passed away at the result of an automobile accident that occurred on July 11th 2007. He passed away on July 13, 2007 at the young age of 7. He gave the gift of life to others on July 14, 2007.
Dylan suffered a severe head injury during the accident in Aurora, IL and was airlifted to Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, IL.
He was placed in an induced coma, his head wrapped in a gauze helmet and he had every tube and instrument imaginable hooked up to him. He could not breathe on his own and was on a ventilator. We realized our little Dylan was in for the fight of his life as his brain continued to swell.
At one point we were approached and asked if we wanted to speak about organ donation. I said what? – NO! – Why would we want to talk to anybody about organ donation? Dylan is still alive! I would have nothing to do with it. I couldn’t help but think people were just after my son’s organs!
You see, up until that time, we didn’t hear anybody tell us Dylan was “brain dead”. Unfortunately, blood flow to Dylan’s brain did eventually stop completely and it wasn’t until after this, we heard the words “brain dead”.
Dylan was pronounced brain dead at 12:20 pm Friday, July 13th, 2007, just 43 hours after the accident.
The ultimate decision to donate Dylan’s organs wasn’t difficult; we had talked about organ donation as a family when our son Nicholas was getting his drivers license. The actual process was the extremely difficult thing to do, because of what it meant. It meant Dylan was gone.
Dylan was kept on mechanical support until the organ testing and coordinating was complete. It was Saturday afternoon at 4:30 PM when he finally left for the operating room to donate. After we agreed to donate Dylan’s organs, we found that Gift of Hope was very patient with us, extremely compassionate, and answered all our questions. But most importantly, through our conversation, they completely erased my preconceived notion that these people were only after my son’s organs.
About 6 weeks later we found out where Dylan’s organs went.
Dylan’s kidneys went to a 65-year-old man in Kansas named Joe.
Dylan’s liver went to a 15-year-old boy. His transplant took place in Chicago but he actually lives in the United Arab Emirates, halfway around the world.
And finally, Dylan’s heart went to a 13-year-old girl in South Carolina.
Dylan is a true superhero! He helped save 3 lives around the world!
We are happy Dylan was able to help other people. Although the people he helped are not our son, our son is now part of them. Dylan and organ donation have brought us together into a very special relationship only few can comprehend or understand.
I’ve written letters to the recipients telling them about Dylan and our life since Dylan has been gone. We have since received letters from the kidney and liver recipients. A quote from Joe, the 65-year-old man in Kansas, “your son saved my life. My hope is that you find joy and solace in knowing he lives through me”.
And from the family of “Ali” the 15-year-old boy in the United Arab Emirates, “Ali can now play and do everything as a normal child, and he is taking care of his precious gift you have given him. He always remembers to pray and be thankful to Dylan, the person who saved his life. Dylan is now one of our family members … Thank you”.
My initial hesitation in donating Dylan’s organs involved some bad timing and was an emotional response. In the end however, we are pleased Dylan was able to help others. We are truly happy for the recipients. We look forward to the day we might even get to meet the recipients in person.