Celebration of giving & living
By Amanda Roberson
TYLER (KYTX) - More than 100 people gathered at Tyler's Rose Garden Sunday afternoon to celebrate life and remember those that have been lost. It's all part of National Donate Life Month, encouraging others to become organ donors. CBS 19's Amanda Roberson attended the ceremony.
Music, memories and tears; all part of an annual Celebration of Giving and Living.
"Why me? Should have been me. I was with him." Tom O'Leary lost his son, Chris, almost two years ago when a drunk driver ran a stop sign. O'Leary found a way for Chris to live on.
"It would sure be a shame for that urn that's sitting on my fireplace now to have those kidneys and that liver and that heart. I mean, what a waste. What a waste because there's someone else out there that's had a problem," O'Leary said.
12-year-old Harley Duffer is one of those people. He underwent a heart transplant Christmas day and received the gift of life.
"He's always cared about others more than himself," Harley's dad, Taylor Duffer explained. "We've always said he had a big heart, we just didn't realize where we were going with that. I just thank God that we still have him and I thank God for the family that helped us keep him."
Gratitude, the Duffer family remembers every day. "My first thought is how great God is to let us still have him and my second thought is I just wonder what God has in his plans for him because he's got to have something planned for Harley that's great and big."
The Duffer family's experience facing death is now causing them to do more.
"I've always been an organ donor," said Mr. Duffer. "And we all are now and we try to emphasize to all our friends that they need to be as well."
"If there's any chance that you can stop someone else grief, you know, why not?" O'Leary asked.
Most Texans are unaware that the most important thing to do if you want to be an organ donor, is to register your wish at www.donatelifetexas.org.
The Donate Life Texas registry currently has almost 675,000 registrants and we are hoping to reach 1,000,000 registered organ donors in Texas by the end of the year.