Wowed by My Son
My son had a heart of gold, and he knew what mattered. He loved his family and everyone who knew him would remember him as kind and compassionate.
Needless to say, I wasn’t surprised when he signed up to be an organ and tissue donor the day he got his license. When the BMV clerk asked if he wanted to be a donor he looked at me and I told him, “Nate, that’s totally your call.” True to his nature, he said “yes” and I made sure he knew how proud I was that he made that decision.
I never thought that choice would come into play so soon.
Just a few years later, Nate was in a car accident and didn’t survive his injuries. We were shocked and grief-stricken, but in the midst of our tragedy, we learned Nate would have the opportunity to donate his organs and tissues.
On June 1, 2009, Nate donated seven organs saving seven lives and his tissue helped more than 50 people heal – including restoring sight for two other teenagers.
Seven was one of Nate’s favorite numbers, and one that he often wore in soccer. I think it would have been cool for him to know he saved seven lives and touched so many more.
I am very, very proud of Nate. The difference he made in the lives of others still wows me and I think he would have been amazed to know how many people he helped after his death. He also made a profound impact during his short time here with us and our whole family was touched by the kindness shown by those who chose to honor his memory.
Some family friends developed a memorial garden at his high school, Thomas Worthington. It has a plaque to honor him along with plants, benches and pavers. It’s a wonderful feeling every time I drive by and see it.
Nate’s class planted a tree in his honor and soccer teammates also dedicated games to him. During the first home game at Thomas Worthington in 2009 all the players wore jerseys with his name and number and the other local school, Worthington Kilbourne, also honored him during a game night.
Our family honors Nate’s legacy too. We set up a scholarship in his name at Thomas Worthington and we celebrate his decision to be an organ and tissue donor. Last year I was joined by dozens of friends and family members who walked and ran for Nate at the Dash for Donation. It’s amazing to be surrounded by other people who have been touched by donation and so great to see all the support for the cause.
I miss Nate every day, but I know he lives on through the gifts he gave. I will continue to tell his story and promote donation in his memory with the hope that his generosity will inspire others to register as organ and tissue donors.
Teri Marburger will be the “Honarary Captain” at the Columbus Crew’s first home game on Mar. 24. She will participate in the coin toss to honor her son, his love of soccer and the amazing legacy he left. Read more about the game here.