Every life touched by organ and tissue donation crosses a bridge between death and life, grief and meaning, hope and healing.”
Saturday I awoke to the sound of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” blaring from my clock radio and rock me awake they did! I immediately hit the snooze button and lay there in the early morning light, not wanting to get up from the warmth and comfort of my bed. Outside the sky was overcast and threatening, definitely not the kind of weather I’d been hoping for, but twenty minutes later when we pulled out of the garage around 6:45 am, the streets were dry, there was no rain, drizzle or even a hint of a mist. I could only hope the weather would hold and be the same out in Orange County where we were headed.
We were on our way to the 13th Annual Donate Life Run/Walk being held on the campus of Cal State Fullerton. The event benefits the Donate Life California Organ and Tissue Donor Registry and draws as many twelve thousand participants. Not that rain would put a damper on the event. It was set to go on rain or shine. Of course, I’d prefer shine and I’m sure everyone else did as well. We weren’t disappointed. When the actual walk/run got underway a little after 9 am, it was still cloudy, however as our large group approached the starting line the cloud cover suddenly opened up and we were treated to a beautiful blue sky and warm sunshine for the rest of the day.
We first learned about the organization from Raylene’s cousins Bill and Mindy Davis who became involved with Donate Life in June of 2008 when their youngest son Scott was seriously injured in a skateboarding accident. He died a few days later. At that time Bill and Mindy made the heartfelt decision to donate Scott’s organs to needy recipients. There are more than 123.000 people in need of transplants, over 22,00 of them here in California. On average, 21 people die every day waiting for a transplant. Their decision was a gift of life for several individuals.
Less than a year later Bill and Mindy took part in the 2009 Donate Life Run/Walk as a way to honor Scott and help raise support and awareness for the Donate Life organization. Each year their group’s numbers grew as more and more friends and family members joined them in honoring Scott. We attended our first Donate Life event in 2011. Saturday’s event was the third we’ve taken part in. It feels good to be part of such an important, life-giving event. What an incredible way to keep Scott’s memory and the memory of each and every donor alive.
Unfortunately, we were unable to attend the ‘fish taco fest’ held at Bill and Mindy’s home following the event, but I know it was a real blast, it always is. Guess we’ll have to wait until next year for some of cousin Larry’s delicious tacos when we again remember Scott and those he helped to save.
What follows is the original post-Scott Davis The Heart of a Champion, first posted 0n 5/5/2011.
Early Saturday morning, April 30th, Raylene, Alan and I drove out to Cal State Fullerton where we met up with a large group of family and friends for the annual Donate Life Walk/Run Family Festival sponsored by the Donate Life California Organ and Tissue Donor Registry. This is the third year the group has participated in this event to honor cousin Scott Davis who was critically injured in a skateboarding accident in June of 2008 and died after two days from severe head trauma. Through the loving generosity of his family, in death, Scott was able to provide a second chance at life to five individuals through organ donations. Davis’ family donated his heart, pancreas, two kidneys, and liver.
This year’s event drew nearly ten thousand people, the largest ever! I’m not exactly sure how many of us were there supporting Scott, but when we all got together for a picture, the group was huge! We all wore Donate Life tee shirts with Scott’s likeness and spent the time before the walk visiting with one another, sharing Scott stories and catching up. It was an incredible morning! After the walk, which took quite awhile because of the large crowd, many of us drove to Bill and Mindy’s home(Scott’s parents) in Huntington Beach for fish tacos and more family and friend time. A good time was had by all.
I really enjoyed visiting with family but I particularly enjoyed talking to Eric, Scott’s older brother. They were very close. He is currently doing his student teaching in Redlands. He’s teaching World History and is really enjoying himself. As I spoke with him I couldn’t help but feel his energy and excitement. I remember feeling the same way when I first started teaching. I’m no longer in the classroom, but I still feel the same way about counseling. Eric definitely has a passion for teaching and working with kids, he’s going to make a fine teacher. I know he’ll be very successful. I’m sure Scott would be quite proud of his big brother.
Scott was an incredible young man who loved life. He had the ‘heart of a champion.’ Among other things, he was an avid surfer, wrestler, skateboarder and guitar player. He was busy living, and as his dad says making people happy. His last day was a full one as he reunited with three of his high school buddies who he hadn’t seen in some time. They were home from college for the summer and surprised him. They spent a good day together surfing, eating, hanging out by the pool and skateboarding. Doing what friends do. No one could have imagined that their day would end so disastrously. His death was tragic. The death of someone so young is always painful and hard to understand. But God has a plan for each of us and this was His plan for Scott. Perhaps the plan was for Scott to give his life so that five others might be saved. The ultimate act of nobility.
Bill and Mindy’s decision to donate Scott’s organs was an extraordinary act of compassion. As cousin Randy would say, it was”OUTSTANDING!” Their decision saved lives and carried on Scott’s practice of making people happy. There are five people out there who are extremely happy and glad to be alive, and they’re surrounded by family and friends who are also very happy. You see, Scott is still making people happy!
I hope everyone will take some time and give serious thought to becoming an organ and tissue donor. I haven’t yet, but I am considering it, I mean there must be some part of me that they could use. Through our support and contributions, we can help save lives. Scott did, so can we… Think about it…