Mother recalls daughter's sacrifice through organ donation

THE TOWN TALK | Jordan Allen
Hunter (13) and Ashton (10) release butterflies at Rapides Women's and Children's hospital in memory of their mother, Sheila Summerland.(Photo: Jordan Allen/The Town Talk)
Twyla Summerland remembers her daughter Sheila's final moments on earth.

A car accident in September 2015 left Summerland's youngest daughter hospitalized in the intensive care unit at Rapides Regional Medical Center, where she stayed for more than a week before making the decision to die.

"Sheila had put her two boys on the bus to school at around 6 in the morning, and was headed to work in Alexandria when she ran into the back of a log truck," Summerland said. "The doctors told us there's no medical reason why she should have ever survived the accident, but she was awake and talking to us for the next nine days."

Sheila, 31, was a registered organ donor. As her condition worsened while she was in the ICU, doctors informed Sheila that unless she allowed herself to progress to brain death, she would not be able to donate some of her vital organs. She made the decision to die — sacrificing her final days on earth. Since her death, Sheila's organs have been donated to six people around the country.

"We have not met any of these people yet," Summerland said, "but we have received letters from some of them — the man who got her pancreas, one who got her lung, the person who got her kidneys. We're still waiting on her heart." Continue reading
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