Three Powerful Words
On June 13, 2009, exactly 15 weeks before our wedding, my 22-year-old fiancé, Danny Thomas, was killed in a motorcycle accident.
Danny and I met at Westland High School in Columbus and were high school sweethearts. He was an amazing man, father and friend with a huge smile and a heart of gold.
In October of 2008 we went to renew his license and he was not an organ donor at the time. When he said no I asked him, “Why in the world not?!”
His response was, “I don’t know, I just said no. I didn’t want to do a bunch of stuff or whatever, so I just said no.” I am not typically a confrontational person but the situation really upset me.
I told Danny, “That is THE most ignorant thing I have ever heard in my life! Do you think that if you are dead you need those organs? Like you will really care if you have them or not”
“If you’re dead they’re no good to you! How could you say no to possibly saving or improving lives? It takes .2 seconds, you say yes and they click the box that says yes. Then you’re done. Then if something ever happens, at least some good could come of it. You have the ability to save others, everyone does.” Then I walked away and went to the car to wait for him to finish renewing his license.
When Danny got in the car, he handed me his license. There it was, that tiny red heart and those 3 words that are so powerful: Ohio Organ Donor. Of course I smiled and hugged him and his smile was too hard to hide.
We never spoke of that day again. Eight months later, Danny was killed on his way home from work. He left behind a fiancé, our two-year-old daughter, parents, a sister and so many more family members and friends.
When I think of how much it hurts that he is gone the pain is almost unbearable, but then I think of the lives he improved because he was a tissue and eye donor.
Lifeline of Ohio has helped make the hardest time of our lives just a little bit easier. The unexpected things they do are just heartwarming; from sending a memory box, to a Christmas ornament, Lifeline of Ohio has helped me begin to heal.
Not only because of my own opinion of organ donation, but because of what the organization has done for me personally, I am a huge advocate for donation. That’s part of why, every year, “Danny’s Team” walks in the Dash for Donation to share his legacy and encourage others to register as donors.
Although nothing can take the pain of the loss I suffered, I try to remember that there is so much more than us and our loss, so many people out there who could be saved just by spreading the word.
Many people who aren’t registered donors don’t understand their ability to save eight lives and improve so many more. Getting just one person to register made all the difference; the letters from Lifeline of Ohio prove it. The letters from recipients prove it.
I have heard from two of Danny’s recipients. His cornea recipient wrote to share what it means to see again and another tissue recipient wrote to express gratitude. It’s bittersweet, but it means so much to know they were healed because of Danny.
I am Laci Thomas and I am an advocate for an amazing cause. It helps me feel closer to Danny and gives our daughter, Natalie, a way to celebrate her Daddy’s life.