Saturday, June 11, 2016

Mother was devastated by son’s suicide. Then she met the woman he saved.

MIAMI HERALD | Karen Garlock

Families of organ donor and recipient bond at emotional meeting

‘Donor mom’ Tonya Chandler reached out to son’s organ recipients

Margaret Girgenti thankful for ‘miracle’ liver donation

After 21-year-old Dillon Chandler died of suicide in October 2014, his organs were donated to four people. His mother and his liver recipient met last month.

It was about 10:30 p.m. on Oct. 20, 2014, when Tonya Chandler got the text from her 21-year-old son’s former girlfriend.

It said: I’m with Dillon at Prospect Church. He’s talking about hurting himself. Call 911 or get here as soon as possible. Tonya typed back: I’m on my way.

With her husband Sonny at her side, Tonya drove as fast as she could. It was eight miles from their home to the church in Albemarle.

Another son, Zachary, got the same text. But he lived closer and got there first. He was in arm’s reach of his younger brother when Dillon raised a .45-caliber handgun to his head and pulled the trigger.

Soon after, Tonya screeched her car to a halt, sliding sideways in the lot. She ran to Dillon, the youngest of their three sons. Blood pooled under his head. Although horrified and in shock, she instinctively gave him CPR.

“Dillon, please don’t do this to me,” she recalled begging. “Please don’t die on me."

That same night one hundred miles away. Continue reading

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