GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – A Green Bay man was recently hospitalized and doctors were not able to save him, but because of his decision to be an organ donor, others will live.
When doctors determined that 20-year-old Jase Andrew Higgins was brain dead, the family’s decision was made easier because of Jase’s selfless act.
Jase’s father, Chris Higgins says, “It was brought to our attention that he was an organ donor. He made that choice on his own and I’m extremely proud of him for that.”
Hospitals like St. Vincent hold a ‘Walk of Respect’ to honor patients who at the end of their life, give the gift of life, to help others.
Nursing Manager at St. Vincent Melissa Buckmaster says, “These patients are saving the lives of others and it’s just great. I never would have imagined when we started this what a big deal it would be for the families.”
Chris says, “Jase will potentially touch up to 100 lives and that’s amazing so many people can be helped, but what’s worse is that there are that many more people in need.”
Jase’s sacrifice will help some of the more than 40,000 people under the age of 50 waiting for organs, according to UW Health.
Jase’s father, Chris says, “The hospital told us one organ is going to the Mayo Clinic. There’s another kidney staying right here in Wisconsin and one organ is going to Ohio. In the loss of Jase that’s one solace that we have is that pieces of him are out there helping other people. Somebody’s gonna have another Christmas next year.”
WFRV’s Erin Davisson says, “My gift came right before Thanksgiving, so really it meant being able to celebrate a Thanksgiving and a Christmas that we didn’t think was absolute.”
Erin received her life-saving liver transplant twenty year ago.
Erin says, “You are so desperately ill and fighting for life and you get a gift from a stranger that saved your life and so there’s this gratitude that all organ recipients feel transplant recipients feel from this gift of life. You can only imagine what you can fill into 20 extra years of life, so it definitely is a situation where they’re giving a lot more happy moments.”
Chris says, “Jase had a huge huge heart and he made use of that heart.” Now part of Jase’s heart will beat inside someone else.
For more information on organ donation visit Wisconsin’s Department of Health Organ and Tissue Donor Registry.
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