A Daughter's Gift: Mid-South teen to be honored in Rose Bowl Parade - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

A Daughter's Gift: Mid-South teen to be honored in Rose Bowl Parade

BARTLETT, Tenn. (WMC-TV) - A Mid-South teenager killed 15 months ago in a tragic car accident lives on through her gift of organ donation, and now Rachel Escue will honored in a very public way - at the Rose Bowl Parade.

"She was a breath of fresh air. She was such a loving child," said Jencie Escue, Rachel's mother. "She had the gift for living."
The 18-year-old Bolton High School student made a choice that saved lives: on the back of her driver's license, Rachel marked the box that said 'yes' to organ donation.

On the day of the deadly crash, Rachel was driving to pick up her paycheck, just one block from home. She and her family were planning to leave for a family vacation in Hawaii the very next day. She wanted to make sure she had some extra spending money for the trip. Her sister Jamie rode alongside her in the passenger's seat.

As she turned onto Germantown Parkway from Stage Hills Blvd., an oncoming car plowed into the driver's side of Rachel's vehicle.

She died, and Jamie survived the crash with severe injuries.

"That was the hardest part, to tell Jamie that her sister didn't make it," said the girls' mother. 

Although nothing can take the pain away, Jencie Escue says that knowing her daughter chose to save others helps her cope to with it. "Rachel having donated her organs and saved other lives leaves us with a hero."

The Mid-South Transplant Foundation says the donation of Rachel Escue's major organs saved the lives of five people, including a mother of three. Her tissue and bone donations saved countless others.

"It's a little bit of a comfort to know there are pieces of her out there," her mother said.
Rachel will be honored on New Year's Day at the Rose Bowl parade in Pasadena, and her family will travel to California to watch.

An image of Rachel made from flowers and seeds will be one of several featured on the 'Stars of Life' float.
Jencie Escue says seeing recipients of organ donations aboard the float will remind her that her daughter is still giving life to others. "It opened our eyes to see your loved one can help other loved ones."

Nearly 30,000 transplants were performed in 2007, and 6500 people died while waiting for an organ.

As of this month, there's a need for more than 100,000 organ donations in the United States.

Jencie Escue hopes to one day meet the people who received her daughter's organs. She says she just can't seem to finish writing that letter to them.

Click here to e-mail Lori Brown.     

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