Dylan “Deeder” Richardson was a typical seven-year-old boy who loved superheroes, especially Spider-Man. He also loved SpongeBob SquarePants, Star Wars, baseball, riding his bike and playing with friends. But in July 2007, Dylan was in a car accident.His injuries from the impact proved too much, and he was pronounced brain-dead 40 hours later.
“At the time, organ donation was the last thing on our minds,” said Lisa, Dylan’s mother.“I believe we wouldn’t have thought of it, but I’m grateful we were asked. What if the hospital staff was not brave enough to ask us? Dylan would have just died. Nothing more.”
Lisa and her husband, Dan, made the decision to donate because “it is the right thing to do,” Lisa said. “The day Dylan donated, he became a superhero because he saved the lives of three people. Not many seven-year-olds get to be a true superhero.”
Dylan’s heart saved a teenage girl in South Carolina. His kidneys saved a 65-year-old man in Kansas. And his liver saved a young man halfway around the world in the United Arab Emirates.
“The pain we feel from losing Dylan remains strong,” Lisa said. “But we’re glad Dylan was able to help others. Without the solace of knowing Dylan saved lives, who knows how much harder this would be?”
Through their experience, Lisa and Dan have become donation advocates with Gift of Hope. As Advocates for Hope, they volunteer when they can. “We wouldn’t want what happened to Dylan and our family to happen to anyone but, if something were to happen, we want to make sure we have done our part in making sure people know that organ and tissue donation is an opportunity to make something good come from a great and tragicloss,” Dan said.
When Dan tells people his son’s story, he always ends his story this way: “Please be sure you’re signed up do be an organ donor, and tell your family of your intentions. You may become someone’s superhero.”