The Jackson Sun | Tracie Simer
Photo: Rachel Summerlin, left, donated a kidney to Jasmin Williams, right, after the two met at the Tennessee Teen Institute. / Tracie Simer/The Jackson Sun
Lessons two young women learned at a youth camp didn’t just bring them together — those lessons helped save a life through organ donation.
Rachel Summerlin, 22, and Jasmin Williams, 23, are both graduates of and staff at the Tennessee Teen Institute, a camp for youth ages 13 to 18 from across the state. The camp’s goal is to teach teens alternatives to drug and alcohol abuse, said Barry Cooper, director of JACOA, which helps organize TTI every year.
Those lessons about drug- and alcohol-free living stuck with both, particularly Summerlin. Because she had a healthy body, she was able to donate a kidney earlier this year to Williams.
“The whole gist of us meeting and the reason I could give a kidney is because in my freshman year of high school, I had a drug problem,” Summerlin said. “TTI came into my life my sophomore year and changed me. I got stubborn about my decisions because you sign a year-long contract at TTI saying you won’t use or abuse drugs or alcohol. And I don’t break contracts. If I hadn’t stopped, I wouldn’t have been able to give, or even meet Jasmin in the first place.”