Sioux City family shares story of son's organ donation - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Sioux City family shares story of son's organ donation


On his 18th birthday, Jesse Jorgensen made a decision that would change not only his life, but his family's and those of 85 other individuals.

"He's asked me about organ donation and what it meant. He said what good are they going to do me, if my brain doesn't work,” recalled his father John.

Eight months later, after football camp, Jesse fell off the back of a moving car, hit his head, and went into cardiac arrest.

"We were just simply thinking recovery; that it was going to work that it was going to be ok. In the back of both of our minds we were going, 'probably won't be bringing him home,” said his mother Mary.

The next day, Jesse's parents made the difficult decision to take their son off life support.

"He looked perfectly normal, but the brain wasn't doing anything,” Mary remembered.

Even though Jesse had signed up to be an organ donor, the decision was still left up to his family. And they didn't hesitate.

"We just said. He'll donate. He wanted to be an organ donor,” said Mary.

“We think well, it's going to help one person, two people, three people, what. And in his situation they were able to transplant his heart, his liver, his lungs, his kidneys, his pancreas, long bones, corneas. About 80 some people were touched,” John told a crowd gathered at Sioux City’s Mercy Medical Center on Tuesday, to kick off organ donation month.

The Jorgensen's have never met any of the patients with a little piece of their son inside them. However, they have received notes of gratitude.

"I've been on oxygen, unable to enjoy my grandchildren, I've been given the lungs, and now I'm able to enjoy my grandchildren,” Jorgenson recalled reading in one letter.

In death their son gave the ultimate gift.

“He was out to help others, no matter what,” said Mary.

It's a gift that's keeping Jesse's memory alive.

"I think that helped us to get through the really tough grief. There's still a part of him out there,” Mary said.

Click on this link to learn more about organ donation:

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