Photo: G. David Fleming with Donate Life America talks with Nanette Eubank (left) and Angela Lacks with VCU Medical Center. Eubank and Fleming are holding a model of a liver. Credit: Alexa Welch Edlund / Times-Dispatch
Julie Garner won't ever forget June 10, 2007.
That's the day she got the middle-of-the-night phone call that is every parent's worst nightmare. Her 16-year-old son, Hunter, had been in a car wreck and airlifted to a hospital in Northern Virginia.
Garner and her husband, Lowell, who lived in Fredericksburg at the time, rushed out to be at Hunter's side. But by the time they reached the hospital, he was dead.
But Hunter was an organ donor and tissue donor, and while nothing will ever dull a parent's pain, knowing that her son was able to give others life at least eases the hurt a bit.
"It does give me a lot of pride that not only did he help beaucoup of others, but that he lives on in other people," Garner said. "I love it. I absolutely love it,"
While the tale of teens dying in automobile crashes is much too common, organ donation is still too rare of an occurrence. A Richmond-based organization is tasked with changing that.
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Looming over the James River in a small office on the 16th floor of the Federal Reserve Bank building, Donate Life America operates a national organization charged with raising awareness of organ, eye and tissue donation and helping grow the list of organ donors.