Casper resident helps bring awareness to organ donation

 Sam and Laurie Weaver with their dog.
Sam and Laurie Weaver with their dog. (KCWY)
Published: Feb. 13, 2020 at 6:42 PM CST
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Teacher, volunteer, firefighter and husband are just a few words Sam Weaver's wife Laurie used to describe him. Almost two years ago, Sam suffered a tragic stroke and passed away.

In the middle of the night, Laurie received a call from Donor Alliance asking if she knew Sam was an organ donor. Because Laurie and Sam had had the conversation about being donors, she knew that organ, eye and tissue donation was what he wanted.

"It was just an amazing process. Through our grief and sorrow, knowing that Sam was able to save so many lives and give the gift of organ and tissue donation. The other thing I thought was really amazing was, we had lots of family members there when Sam had the stroke and each of us were able to write down in a card, things about Sam. The great things about Sam because he was a great guy. What they do is, before Sam's surgery, they read the cards to the operating room personnel so they know who Sam was," Laurie Weaver, Sam's wife and donor spouse, said.

Laurie said it's inspiring to meet people whose lives have been changed because of an organ donor. Though it may be hard, it's important for families to start the conversation.

"I know a lot of people don't necessarily want to have a conversation about their death or maybe the death of a loved one, but we really encourage that. The reason we do is because just one person who says yes, has the potential to save up to eight other people through organ donation and can save and heal more than 75 people through tissue donation," Ryea' O'Neill, Donor Alliance Wyoming Community Relations Coordinator, said.

O'Neill is a donor family member and said it's not a coincidence that National Donor Day falls on Valentine's Day.

"I think about those dads, those children, those moms who may not have been able to go on living or who may have a limited capacity in their living because they needed a tissue transplant, an ACL repair or a bone graph of some kind, burn victims that need skin in order to heal properly. Those people get to return to their loved ones, they get to have more memories, they get to have grandchildren and their legacy gets to continue," O'Neill said.

She said the donor families also get to know their loved ones legacy will live on in others and this is the perfect time to start the conversation.

Wyomingites who sign up to become an organ donor, give thousands in need, a chance to receive life-saving organ and tissue transplants.