Family donates organs of 9-year-old son after deadly car crash
It's been four days since 9-year-old Liam Haddock lost his life in a car crash on East Main Street. Since then, thousands of people have rallied around his family.
In just one day, more than 200 people donated nearly $20,000 to Liam's family through Go Fund Me. His father’s work supervisor set up the account. On the page, Liam is described as a hero to other kids in need of an organ transplant.
Shortly after Liam was sent to the hospital with his father and five-year-old brother, a family spokesperson told us he was declared brain dead by a team of Erlanger doctors.
In a statement, the spokesperson said Liam's parents decided to donate his organs. It reads in part, "it is their sincere hope that their personal tragedy will benefit others through the gift of life."
Dawn Benjamin with Tennessee Donor Services says it's a difficult decision families face. Ten percent of Erlanger’s donors are children.
“None of us want to be faced with this question at a very tragic time not knowing what our loved one would've wanted,” she said. “It doesn't take away any of their grief but in some way, it serves as a comfort to realize that their loved one was able to leave that legacy.”
Benjamin says right now, there are more than 113,000 people waiting on an organ transplant nationwide; 3,000 of them are in Tennessee. She says 20 people on that nationwide list will die each day waiting.
“We have people on the waiting list who are babies just months old all the way up to people who are in their late 60's that also means that we have donors who are just months old all the way up to people in their late nineties,” said Benjamin.
According to Benjamin, 80 percent of the people on the transplant list are waiting on a kidney, which she says is because of the “prevalence of diabetes in the U.S. today."
Facing the decision Liam's family did is not easy, but Benjamin is encouraging others to be brave as they were and help save lives.
“Two-thirds of our cases still come from family consent so just another reason why it’s so important that we do talk to each other as a family because a lot of people have not signed up on their state's registry,” Benjamin said. “Don't rule yourself out. You never know what you might be able to give. When we give that gift of life we can truly help a lot of people.”
If anyone wants to be an organ donor, Benjamin suggests talking about it with loved ones and documenting your decision.