Local News

Organ Donation: Give The Gift Of Life

Posted February 19, 2003 8:11 a.m. EST

— Making the decision to be an organ donor takes serious thought. It is also a decision that must be shared with your loved ones.

In 1999, a teenage girl brought up this important conversation with her family.

"It was March 5... and that night at 9:50, the phone rang and it was the phone call that every parent fears. On the other end of the line they said 'Your daughter Morgan has been in a car accident,'" remembers Michelle Peele.

Peele relives her family's nightmare as she shares her story with teenagers who are preparing to be drivers.

"She took her seat belt off, she changed the radio. That's right. She took her coat off while she was moving. [The] car went out of control, flipped over. Morgan was thrown from the vehicle," she tells a group of teenagers.

"So we went to the hospital, and it was a very long night. The next morning, our heads and hearts were reeling when we heard the words Morgan was brain dead," says Peele.

Her chilling lesson teaches teenagers to be responsible behind the wheel. She also shares another responsibility with them -- another life or death decision: the importance of organ donation.

"If you could talk to the families waiting on the organ donation waiting list, waiting for an organ and know that that person died waiting for an organ, you would consider organ donation a form of giving," she says.

Just two weeks before her own car accident, Morgan was reading about a bad wreck in the newspaper. She took that moment to tell her family she wanted to be an organ donor.

"She gave me and my family a wonderful gift by telling us, and taking away from us that decision that is life and death for someone on the receiving end. She took that out of our hands, basically by giving us a gift ahead of time to know what it was she wanted to do. Our decision was simple," says Peele.

Morgan's donation -- and decision -- saved eight lives.

"If you want to be an organ donor, if you don't want to be an organ donor, I believe in the program. I say no matter what, share your decisions with your loved ones, because that's the gift," says Peele.