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My Son the Superhero

“Our son, John Mullins IV, was really into superheroes. We would be getting ready for the day, and we would hear him upstairs, running and jumping. As a mom, I would be irritated. I’d say, ‘Come on, let’s go. We’re running late. What are you doing up there?’ He would say that he was acting like a superhero and fighting the villains. That was the way he got ready for the day. In hindsight, I think that was his way of preparing for the world.

When both of our kids would leave for school every day, my husband would say, ‘Always be big.’ And that was just a reminder that when you get out there in this world, recognize that it’s bigger than you and that you have the ability to impact others.

John passed away on Father’s Day 2019 at the young age of 11. He was up at the plate on the baseball field, swinging for the fences. It was how he lived: always fighting, always battling as he started every day. My husband recognized that something was not quite right. That’s when John stepped away from the plate and collapsed.

Within a few hours at the hospital, we discovered he had a brain aneurysm. We learned he was born with an arteriovenous malformation, and it had ruptured. Fortunately, the wonderful people at the hospital were able to revive him and place him on a ventilator. This allowed us the opportunity to decide to donate his organs.

John had the opportunity to donate his right kidney to a woman in Missouri. He donated his left kidney and pancreas to a man in Ohio, his intestines to a man in New York, his liver to a young girl in Ohio and his lungs to a teenage boy in Pennsylvania. He also donated his corneas – one to a woman in Ohio and another to a gentleman in New York. His tissues and ribs were donated to projects at The Ohio State University for car safety and child seat restraint research. I hope to get to meet all of the recipients at some point.

As a parent, knowing John’s donations have impacted these great people makes every day easier. This light, through the darkness that we felt since he passed, gives us hope. To know that he was able to give back in the way that he always wanted to give back.”

— Erica Mullins, John’s mom

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