Teen saves lives after death - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Teen saves lives after death

18-year old Jacob Smith died when the car he was driving crashed along Shelby Road.  His grieving parents made the difficult decision to donate Smith's organs so others could live.  Now Smith's story will be told nationally.

Cindy Smith says the pain was unbearable when her son Jacob died in February, just three months shy of his Millington High School graduation. 

"As soon as they told us that Jacob was brain dead, his dad came straight to me and said 'you know what Jacob would want' and I said 'absolutely,'" she said. 

Smith said her family knew Jacob would want to help others, even in death, by donating his organs. 

"To know that part of him is still here and living in other people to make their lives better, that's the saving grace," she said.

After learning of Jacob's gift, Smith allowed the Mid-South Transplant Foundation to put his smiling face on their Rose Parade "Donate Life" float. 

"What we hope to do is raise the awareness so that everybody can see the greatness that can come from being a donor," said Randa Lipman of Mid-South Transplant Foundation. 

Jacob will be one of 40 donors seen by millions of parade watchers New Year's Day. 

"There's actually almost 100,000 people on the national waiting list right now waiting for a life-saving transplant," Lipman said.

Smith hopes Jacob's gift will encourage people to donate. 

"My purpose of still being here for him is to help people to understand and if they're riding that fence, 'I don't know if I want to.' Why would you not?," she asked.  "Jacob's gift has saved five lives in the Mid-South."

Cindy Smith heads to Pasadena, California this Saturday to watch the parade.  She says her family had open discussions with Jacob about organ donation and she encourages everyone to do the same.


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