On March 31, 2005, a 1:30 a.m. phone call changed the lives of Tim and Mida Smith forever. “Our son, Colby, had been in an accident,” Mida recalled. “He had severe head trauma, and the doctors did not think he would survive.”
The worried parents immediately drove 800 miles from their home in Arkansas to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Rockford, Ill. There they met their daughter-in-law, Jen, and the doctors who said Colby’s death was imminent. “Our beautiful 33-year-old son lay there on a ventilator waiting to die,” Mida said. “We were devastated.”
Surrounded by their daughters and Jen, Tim and Mida prayed and waited, but they realized that some decisions had to be made. “We knew he would want to donate his organs to save a life or improve the quality of life for someone else,” Mida said. And the recovery team from Madison was called.
“The following days were a blur of pain and grieving,” Mida shared. She said the approach of Mothers Day was especially difficult. But the day before, they received a letter from the Illinois Eye-Bank stating that Colby had given the gift of sight to a young man in Michigan. Later they learned that Colby’s liver, pancreas and kidneys gave life to three other people through transplants.
“Our precious son is gone, but he lives on in his children and the gift of life he has given to others through his donated tissue, bone and organs,” Mida said. To honor Colby, the family hosts an annual fundraising run. “August 24, 2013, will be the sixth annual Colby Smith Memorial Four-Mile Classic,” Mida said. “To date, this event has raised more than $40,000 in scholarships for Aquin Catholic School students in Freeport, Ill.