Stories of Hope

Donor Stories: Judy


Donor Mother: Judy

Judy is a donor mother from Thornton, CO. Her son, Jake, passed away and and gave the gift of life through organ donation. This is Amy and Jake’s donation story.

On March 3, 2009 I received the phone call every parent fears…“Your son has been involved in a serious accident; how quickly can you get here?”

As Judy raced to the hospital, she would soon learn more about the extent of her son, Jake’s, injuries. Jake’s car had collided with a train sometime in the early morning hours.

As doctors and nurses entered the room with empty stares and soft trembling voices, they uttered, “We are doing everything we can; the situation is grim.”

Jake suffered head trauma and a lack of oxygen to his brain for an extended amount of time, causing irreversible brain damage. For thirty hours, Judy says family and friends were at his bedside praying for a miracle.

Then it was to be – my precious son Jake was to be the miracle.

In all the chaos and emotion of the next few minutes and hours, Judy says she reflected back to a summer afternoon when she and Jake were talking about her decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor. Judy says she recalls Jake telling her, “if it is no good for me, someone else should benefit.” Thinking of this particular day, Judy says she knew what they had to do next. They talked to the hospital and Donor Alliance about organ and tissue donation.

Jake was always thinking of others. Judy says that he often fed the homeless, gave them rides and offered them the clothes off his back. It was not unusual to be downtown and notice a hoodie or hat that Jake once wore. Generosity is what he was known for.

Now, Jake would continue to give in his loss. Six individuals and their families, who were praying for a miracle that day, received one. Jake’s liver, kidneys, pancreas, and heart valves were all transplanted and Judy’s family has been blessed to hear from each of his recipients.

Each day brings new challenges, but I have learned that in each challenge we have choices. Jake always made the choice to live, to love and to laugh. It is by the grace of God, the love of family and friends and the compassion of complete strangers, that we survived losing him. That is why I choose to keep Jake’s spirit alive by facing each day just as he would have.


Judy, left, at a Denver Health event.

Judy is one of our amazing volunteers in Donor Alliance’s Advocate for Life program.

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