Source: Katy Times

Event raises awareness for organ donation

By Tracy Dang
Times Managing Editor
Wednesday, May 12, 2010 9:29 AM CDT
Even though Michael and Sheree Jones lost their son Chad in a motorcycle accident last June, they are keeping the memory of him alive as they encourage people to become organ donors.

“Chad donated his heart, liver and kidneys so four strangers could live happy productive lives with their families,” Sheree Jones said. “Unfortunately, this is not happening enough. I feel there is a severe shortage of registered organ donors in our state, as Texas has the second lowest number of registered donors per capita in the United States.”

The family is hosting the second annual Chadmod Donate 4 Life benefit Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the George Bush Park Pavilions 1, 2 and 3 at Westheimer Parkway and Barker Cypress.

Attendees can register to be an organ donor, which takes less than two minutes, and event will feature a car show, food, entertainment, silent auction and merchandise for sale.

The entry fee is $5 or free with a current organ donor registration card. All proceeds will go to Donate 4 Life and the Donate 4 Life House, which provides free housing to families with loved ones awaiting or recovering from organ transplants.

The family started the nonprofit organization last year in hopes of bringing awareness to the issue and encouraging more people to become registered organ donors.

“In researching organ donations, we discovered 17 people die awaiting an organ transplant while 13 new names are added to the list daily,” Jones said.

“One donor has the potential to give the gift of life to eight others, while helping hundreds more improve the quality of their life through tissue donations.

“We feel a state the size of Texas with only 550,000 registered donors is not acceptable, and we have a number of ideas to increase that,” she said.

The 2006 Cinco Ranch High School graduate was traveling on Interstate 610 Saturday, June 6 when his motorcycle hit a six-foot bedpost in the roadway. The motorcycle hit the guardrail, ejecting him over the ramp onto Hwy. 59.

Chad suffered serious head trauma, as well as a broken femur and was LifeFlighted to Ben Taub Hospital. He underwent several surgeries and was placed on a life-support system. He died a week later after suffering from a massive stroke.

His death brought sympathy from not only those who knew and loved him, but also from strangers in the car and motorcycle community in the greater Houston area.

The family hopes sharing his story would encourage others to register to be an organ donor too.

“We’re just a family who does not want our son to be forgotten, who even though he died, can still be a hero and save many more lives, not just the four strangers he donated for,” Jones said.