Family who lost son honored for organ donor efforts - WNEM TV 5

Family who lost son honored for organ donor efforts

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

A local family is turning their tragedy into a chance to encourage others to help save countless lives by becoming an organ donor.

The National Foundation for Transplants said just one organ donor can save eight lives and change the lives of more than 50 people.

Two years ago, Ward and Lydia Kimball went through every parent's nightmare. They lost their 18-year-old son Even in a deadly car accident in 2015.

From that loss came new life as Evan was an organ donor.

It's a cause his parents have become passionate about since his death.

"To pull their license out and just look for the little red donor heart on their license and then make a decision to help someone else," Lydia Kimball said.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Ruth Johnson awarded the Kimballs the Shining Star for their efforts in raising awareness about becoming an organ donor.

The Kimballs are encouraging anyone and everyone to become an organ donor.

Evan's decision to become an organ and tissue donor saved the lives of five people, including 66-year-old George Magulak.

"I was days away from dying. I didn't have another option and through the grace of God I was blessed to know someone who knew the Kimball family and they named the organ for me or else I would have passed away," Magulak said.

The family has teamed up with Gift of Life Michigan with a goal to sign up 4,444 new donors to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. The Kimballs chose that number in honor of their son. Evan wore the number four in high school sports.

"Ward and Lydia Kimball turned their unimaginable grief into hope for other people," said Betsy Miner-Swartz, part of the Heroes Have the Heart campaign.

She said donors truly become heroes.

"Evan has a legacy of saving five lives, but they are continuing Evan's legacy by saving even more lives and it just touches our hearts," Miner-Swartz said.

As for the Kimballs, they said it's just something that feels right.

"It's just one person at a time. One personal contact, one story and just trying to impact the lives and improve the lives of individuals," Lydia Kimball said.

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