Chattanooga native shares gift of life with five people she never knew
Chattanooga native Alison Henricks Bell grew up in Harrison and graduated from Central High School in 2004. She died from sleep apnea last Saturday in Charleston, South Carolina at the age of 33. She was an organ donor, and she gave five people a second chance at life.
A video posted by the Trident Medical Center shows a medical team lining the hallway along with Alison's family for an Honor Walk to recognize her organ donation.
You see her mother, husband Joe, 10-year-old son Joey, and six-year-old son Corbin as they react to Alison's final act of selflessness.
"It was amazing. I was so proud of her and as hard as that was I knew how much that meant to her. I knew how much helping other people meant to her," said Joe, Alison's husband.
Joe said when he told his sons that their mom passed away, it was his oldest son Joey that gave him some perspective.
"He looked at me and he said, 'dad she won the battle. She's in heaven,'" recalled Joe.
When it came to the decision to donate Alison's organs, Joe simply honored his wife's wishes.
"When I renewed my license, I actually called her and asked 'what's this organ donor?' And then she was like 'oh, check the box. Make sure you do it,'" Joe remembered.
As a hospice nurse, Alison dedicated her life to helping others.
"She could take the most difficult person, where some of her other nursing friends would say 'oh, I just can't handle this patient, he's ornery or he's this' and I mean Alison said, 'by the end of the visit I had them laughing,'" said Joe.
It was her selfless heart and ability to make people laugh that are the qualities Joe wants people to remember.
"That's some comfort. I know that there are five families rejoicing and celebrating their loved ones that they're going to get longevity and more time with them," said Joe.
Joe said hopefully one day he'll get tell the organ recipients about Alison and how she was a special person. But for now, her legacy lives on within the families of the five people she saved.
"I'm very proud of her and her legacy will live on through Joey and Corbin," said Joe.
Memorial contributions can be made in Alison's memory to a hospice organization of your choice.
The family will receive friends on Saturday from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Heritage Funeral Home on East Brainerd Road.