by Angela Marshall (KPAX News)
MISSOULA - Matthew Lausch, 20, of Alberton was involved in a car accident back on May 5, 2009 and two days later, he succumbed to his injuries.
But, even after his death, Matthew is giving the gift of life to another individual through organ and eye donation.
We recently met and spoke with Libby Lausch, Matthew's mother who is hopeful that Matthew's memory will live on after he chose to donate his body parts to those in need. After all, his motto was: "Live. Laugh. Love. Dance".
"He was full of life. And, he loved to laugh. He loved deeply. And, he loved to dance," Libby told us.
Matthew died from a catastrophic head injury he sustained in a tragic car accident, "And, that was pretty devastating to arrive at the hospital and take a look at your son and know that he more than likely was not going to survive," Libby recalled.
But unbeknown to his family, Matthew chose at an early age to become an organ donor. "And, the nurse came in the next morning and 6 a.m. and said, 'Did you know that Matthew chose at 15 to become an organ donor?' And, I said, 'No. I didn't, but that's great!'" Libby said
"I was legally blind in that eye until I received the transplant. And, now, I can see again," says transplant recipient Marty Joseph Sanchez, Jr.
The Fremont, California resident received one of Matthew's corneas and his vision has now been fully restored.
"I mean, I would hug him. In my own way, I talk to him. He's not here, but I tell him, 'Thank you,'" Sanchez said.
Earlier this month, Libby and her husband, Doug, traveled to San Francisco to meet Marty. They also decorated a florograph, which Marty will carry during the Rose Parade on New Year's Day to honor Matthew, and to raise awareness for organ and tissue donation.
"Think of all the good you're doing. You can help a small child live a full, long life or an adult live to be able to see their children graduate from high school and get married," Libby said.
Last year alone, 375 Montanans donated their corneas, allowing over 580 individuals to see...and allowing Matthew's legacy to live on.
"He would say, 'Don't look back or look at the black. Look ahead and look for the gold," Libby concluded.
If you would like to become an organ or tissue donor you can click "yes" on the organ donation box on your Montana driver's license or visit www.donatelifetoday.com.