Nathan Davis had planned to donate a kidney to his father, who desperately needed one. While Nathan was able to fulfill that wish, the donation ended up being bittersweet for the Davis family.
The 23-year-old Knoxville, Tenn., resident was left brain-dead after a tragic car crash. Although the accident eventually took his life, Nathan, as an organ donor, was able to give the gift of life to his father and to several other recipients in need.
Early on Tuesday morning, Luther Davis followed his son’s body into the operating room, according to WAFF48, after an honor walk celebrating Nathan’s life-saving gift.
“After the first hour of operation, we were told that the kidney was already beginning to function,” Gabriela Davis, Luther’s daughter and Nathan’s sister, told the news outlet. “The next update we got was when the surgeon, Dr. Grandas, came to tell us that the surgery had been a success and that the kidney was doing its job. The procedure had been completed in very little over two hours, and Luther, with his little piece of Nathan, was in recovery. We knew that Luther was OK, by the grace of God, and we are so overwhelmingly grateful, in the face of this tragedy, for all of God’s mercies and miracles shining through the darkness.”
Nathan’s heart, liver, and other kidney will also be donated to people in need.
“He is officially dead, but that body, that fearfully and wonderfully made body, is keeping those organs alive with a lot of assistance, but those organs are going to find new homes in the morning, and one of them is coming back home,” Nathan’s mother, Julia Davis, said. “This ensures that Luther is going to have the opportunity to be with us a good while longer, and that’s beautiful. It’s a gift like no other.”
Nathan passed away on Sunday morning, surrounded by his family, but his father wants others to remember Nathan as a “giving, loving, friendly to everyone.” Luther said his son had never met a stranger and never judged a person for their beliefs. “He loved all of them.”
Luther also hopes Nathan’s story will inspire others to become organ donors. When Nathan received his license, he signed up to donate.
“I’d really like to tell people: ‘If you’re not a donor, become a donor. If your children are starting to drive, let them know there’s an option to sign that card,’” Luther told the news outlet. “Hopefully, they’ll never have to use it, but if something happens and they do, that way the family doesn’t have to make a decision; it’s already made. Then, other families keep their loved ones longer because of them.”
According to OrganDonor.gov, 114,000 men, women and children are on the national transplant waiting list, and 20 people die each day while waiting for a transplant. Every 10 minutes, another person is added to the waiting list, but only three out of 1,000 people die in a way that allows for organ donation.
You can register to be an organ donor through the DMV here. One organ donor can save up to eight lives.
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