By VICTORIA GRAY,TORONTO SUN
Toronto Police Chaplain Rev. Walter Kelly announced during Russell’s funeral service that he had donated his eyes to a child.
“As Ryan closed his eyes in death, he gave resurrection and a new kind of life to someone else, and that’s wonderful,” Kelly said Wednesday.
He was with Russell’s family when they received the call from Trillium Gift of Life Network, who told the family Russell’s blue eyes had been donated to a child.
“Even in death he was giving,” Kelly said. “Families touched by a tragedy have to make a decision. Now with medical science the way it is we can care for someone else who is hoping and praying for a miracle.”
Frank Markel president and CEO of the Trillium Gift of Life Network said he thinks this donation says very good things about Russell, who signed a donor card, and his family, who supported the decision.
“For him to be so generous speaks volumes about who he was,” he said. “That in particular, his wife, would let him be a cornea donor speaks volumes. It’s entirely (keeping) with the courage we saw yesterday.”
Yet Markel understands why people may not want to part with their loves one’s eyes. “For many people the eyes are so closely related to who we are,” he said.
Kelly urged people to think about organ donation before a death occurs.
“(Tragedies) happen in our lives, we don’t know, and sometimes we only have hours to decide,” he said.
The courage Russell and his family displayed by donating has not only helped the child who received the eyes but the family of that child who will no longer suffer.
“The cornea gives the gift of sight,” Markel said. “Sight is so precious to us, it opens up so much to us.”