A Part of Me

Jessica - Orem, Utah
Entered on October 3, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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A little four year old boy is gone. What else can be done about it but watch as a family suffers with the loss? Giving up someone that was just taken away is probably one of the hardest things a person will ever have to do, but when it’s saving someone else, it is the best option. I believe in organ donation.

As a child, I grew up learning about Chase, the brother I never got the chance to meet. Two years before I was born, he drowned in a canal when he was only four years old. He was the little boy my family always wanted and lost soon after. My parents donated Chase’s organs and others lived because of this little act of uncommon kindness. The only information my family learned was that a girl from out of state received his liver.

The years passed and I was about eight when I ran to check the mail and saw there was a package from California. No one knew what it represented until we opened it and saw pictures of a little girl that looked about three. More pictures showed this little girl getting older and older until she was 15. Jackie Barilone was her name and at age three, she almost died waiting for a liver. She received Chase’s liver. Phone calls started and we continued to learn about Jackie and her family; she somehow became almost instantly considered part of our family. Our families got close as we stayed in touch writing and talking on the phone. I learned that Jackie loved to dance and swim in the ocean. Although it being the first time talking to her, before I hung up the phone, Jackie said, “Goodbye sweetheart, I love you.”

I met Jackie two years later. Our family road trip to California seemed to never end, but the drive was worth it and as I walked up to hug this girl I’d never met before, she wrapped her arms around me and it was as Chase was holding me. The impact of her hug changed me forever. I started to change the way I lived my life. Every morning I woke up to the picture of my four year old Chase looking over me. Meeting Jackie and experiencing that feeling it gave me proved to me that Chase really is watching over me.

If my brother’s organs hadn’t been donated, Jackie wouldn’t have lived. And since her life was saved, she now has a baby boy named Chase. This is why I believe so strongly in organ donation because I have seen first hand how it changes lives. Even though the tragedy of Chase’s death caused my whole family pain, something good also came with the bad. Everyday I wait until the day I can finally come face to face with him. I have never known him, but I know he is there, and Jackie, has helped make Chase more than just the brother I never got to meet. He has become a part of me.