An Organ Donor's Story: Matt Etheredge

(The picture of Matt first appeared in the Tulsa and Oklahoma City newspapers as part of the campaign of LifeShare to promote organ donation.)

I will never forget the first time I took my 16 year old son, Matt, to get his driver’s license. He took his picture and when it came to the question about donating organs, he looked at me and said “mom, what does this mean?” I explained the donor program and he said sure he would be an organ donor. Not knowing that after discussing this with him, I would be at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center a year later making the decision to donate my son's organs. The doctors did not even have to ask me. I volunteered when I found out Matt was not going to make it through a terrible car accident, having suffered a brain injury.

We are a giving family. The donating of his organ was a kind of healing process for me. My daughter and I have actually met the lady who has Matt's liver. What a wonderful family. She actually didn't have much time to live before receiving Matt's liver. After receiving his liver, the recipient family invited us for Christmas. It was a bitter sweet feeling. As I looked at the recipient and saw her holding hands with her husband and all of her grandkids jumping all over her, smiling and laughing … I thought to myself, “this is what it is all about. If my son can not live, someone else can continue to have life through him."

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