Joann Reynolds was a single mom raising her 2 children in Las Cruces, NM. She remembers being at home with her daughter one evening when she heard sirens. Joann was in the habit of saying a prayer when she heard sirens, so she stopped and prayed. A little while later Joann’s telephone rang. The caller was the girl that her 17 year old son had left with earlier. Hysterically, she told Joann that Jeffrey had been shot in a drive- by shooting. Joann quickly made her way to the hospital. Joann recalls seeing Jeffrey. He was all cleaned up and peaceful, unconscious, but breathing on his own. She was so very hopeful. But later, the doctor’s told her the extent of his injuries and that Jeffrey would not recover. Joann was overcome with shock and grief. She doesn’t remember exactly what the doctor’s said, whether they asked her or told her about Jeffrey donating his organs for transplant. What Joann does remember is how offended she was when they approached her about organ donation. She told them, “How dare you!”
One of the many people in the waiting room with Joann was her Pastor. He asked Joann to recall how Jeffrey had the gift of giving. She remembered how Jeffrey would give away his jackets, shoes or other articles of clothing because “someone else needed them”. Joann’s pastor told her he thought that Jeffrey would want to help to save other’s lives. Joann agreed.
Jeffrey was able to save several lives, one being a teenager named Amber. Amber received Jeffrey’s heart and Joann was able to meet and get to know Amber and her mother. Joann finds much comfort in knowing that other’s lives were saved by Jeffrey and that others did not have to say good-bye to their loved one’s pre-maturely.
It wasn’t until after the Doctor’s had approached Joann that she learned that Jeffrey had indicated on his driver’s permit that he wanted to be an organ donor! The other interesting thing is that Joann was also an organ donor as indicated on her driver’s license.
The Ultimate Gift of Life is raising awareness about being an organ donor and encouraging people to tell their loved ones about their decision to be an organ donor.
Joann is pictured with a photo of her son, Jeffrey and Amber who received Jeffrey’s heart.
We are grateful for Joann’s service as a volunteer with The Ultimate Gift of Life. She shares her story at various speaking events. We appreciate any opportunities to visit clubs, organizations or places of business to raise awareness about being an organ donor. An increase in the number of registered organ donors leads to lives being saved or enhanced through organ and tissue transplantation. Please contact us.
“Turn a Time of Loss Into a Time of Hope!”
Become an Organ Donor!