Our Beautiful Daughter’s Gift Lives On
Our daughter Josie was a true friend, always smiling, adventurous and she would light up any room she walked into. She graduated from Danville High School in 2012 where she was involved in sports, FFA, the school newspaper, on yearbook staff and a member of student council. Josie showed goats at the county fair and attended North Bend Church of the Brethren. She lived every minute of her life to the fullest.
Josie turned 19 years old two weeks before her accident. She would wake early in the morning to go to the gym before class or work. She was on her way to the gym May 29, 2013, when sadly, our beautiful daughter’s car swerved off the road and rolled. We may never know what caused the accident that morning.
That day has forever changed our lives as Josie’s parents, sisters, grandparents, family and friends. It is a parent’s worst nightmare when the state patrol comes to your work to tell you that your child has been in an accident and didn’t survive.
We immediately went to the hospital to say goodbye to our daughter. Everything was such a blur, but we learned Josie registered at age 16 to be an organ, eye and tissue donor and that allowed everything to fall into perspective. Josie spent her life giving of herself to others, so it was fitting that she did so even in her death.
Josie was able to donate heart tissue and vessels to a four-day old baby girl, her corneas and her orthopedic tissue created 400 bone grafts. It’s so comforting to know that she has helped a baby, given sight to two individuals, and her tissue will help heal many others.
I knew so little about organ, eye and tissue donation before Josie’s accident – not because I didn’t care but because I was uneducated about it. Now I know and understand that so many more are affected by donation – donor families, as well as the families whose loved ones are waiting for a transplant. Out of a tragic and unimaginable situation, knowing that Josie helped others, gives us peace.
We now look forward to honoring our daughter through the Dash for Donation with more than 65 runners and walkers on our team, “Joggers for Josie.” Our family is committed to raising awareness of organ, eye and tissue donation. We’ll do this through the Dash, by encouraging people to register and through a scholarship we created in her name. The “Josie Lynne Kaylor Nursing Scholarship” was established to help others pursue the same dream that Josie had of becoming a nurse. Applicants are required to write an essay about organ, eye and tissue donation in an effort to start the donation conversation with a younger generation.
The pain of losing Josie will never leave us. We were blessed to have her 19 years. I tell others she loved life and saw the world in a way most never will. Our hope is that her legacy will live on through the hundreds, if not thousands, of people that she touched. Our family will tirelessly advocate for organ, eye and tissue donation to ensure that Josie’s gift will influence others to register to be a donor. Our beautiful daughter’s gift lives on.