By Donna Richards, donor mom

Corey and River – left to right

My son River was sweet, thoughtful and fair. He was a devoted big brother to Corey and a friend to all – he truly made an impact on those around him.

River loved music – he played everything from the guitar to harmonica. His passion for music was so deep, he was considering becoming an elementary school music teacher.

Unfortunately, his dreams were not meant to be. River passed away December 18, 2016 as a result of a car accident. He was just 20-years old.

To honor his love of Pokémon and Star Trek, we encouraged everyone to wear their favorite t-shirts to his funeral service. And we also urged everyone to follow in his footsteps and to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor.

You see, my son’s death brought hope to three people. He saved two people with the donation of his kidneys and one with the donation of his liver. So far, we’ve heard from one of his kidney recipients who is doing well after her transplant. We’ve also heard from her parents who thanked River for saving their daughter’s life.

River was a registered donor, something he and I had talked about when he received his license. He knew he wanted to give to others should something ever happen to him. It was a gift to us as well as to his recipients – his death had new meaning.

To honor my son, we are participating in the Dash for Donation on July 15. River’s Runners will take the streets of Columbus to celebrate his decision to give the gifts of life, sight and healing and to encourage others to do the same.

He was such a sweet kid with an infectious laugh. I miss it so much. I ask you to please consider registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor to honor my son, his decision and to give HOPE to so many who are waiting. Donation has meant so much to our family – you can do the same.