Our Giving Daughter, Claire
Our daughter Claire was a high-academic achiever, gifted on the stage in both singing and performing and was very giving of her time. I was often struck by how my 16-year old girl was so busy in her school and extra-curricular activities, but always made time to volunteer and help others around her.
Claire was so giving in fact, when she tragically passed away in March 2014 she had already made the decision to give to others through organ, eye and tissue donation. In the absolute midst of our grief, we were called by Lifeline of Ohio and informed of the decision she made. We were asked if we would honor her wishes. Without a doubt we said “Yes!”- it was obvious this last act of giving was important to Claire.
Although Claire and I never had a conversation about donation prior to her death, she and her mom did when Claire received her driver’s license. When I learned she was registered, I wasn’t surprised. It was just how Claire was – giving and always helping others.
Through Claire’s selfless act, she was able to give sight to two people through cornea donation and heal countless others through tissue donation. It gives our family comfort that Claire’s legacy is living through others – we hope that someone can now enjoy looking at beautiful flowers, just as Claire loved to do.
In December following Claire’s death, my wife and I attended the Lifeline of Ohio holiday tree lighting. It was tremendous to be surrounded by so many people who were going through the same journey of emotions we were experiencing.
As families hung ornaments on the tree, people were able to share about their loved ones. My wife spoke eloquently about our daughter – it was so good to tell her story, our story, to others. After the donor families spoke, a woman stood up. She said she wouldn’t be here, her children wouldn’t be alive and she would not have the blessing of grandchildren if it wasn’t for the heroic act of organ donation. She shared she didn’t know who her donor was, but she wanted to publicly thank all organ, eye and tissue donors and their families. At this time I was not a registered donor, not for any particular reason, just because I had not signed up. After attending the tree lighting, and reflecting on our daughter’s decision, I took that step to register. I truly felt that I was making my daughter proud.
Life without Claire has been unspeakably difficult. However, our family takes great comfort in the fact that she is a hero to so many. We encourage you to register at www.lifelineofohio.org and join the Ohio Donor Registry. Be a hero like Claire.