You sister Alica
Parents say organ donation was sign of daughter's love
A week before the June 7 accident that killed 15-year-old Crystal Gravley,
she announced that she wanted to be an organ donor: "There was a train
accident here in town," said Crystal's father, Gordon Gravley, "A guy had
gotten hit by a train. That's what brought this subject up about organ
donation. She'd seen the car stuck in the bridge, and she came home and
said, 'How do I donate my organs? just out of the blue."
"Michael Jordan had a lot of influence," said Crystal's mom, Deb Gravley.
"He's a spokesperson for organ donation." Gordon said. "She told us, 'If
anything ever happens to me, I want to be a donor." Deb said." "She said
that just as plain as day," Gordon said. "I said, 'When you get your license,
you can put it on there.' And that was it."
At the hospital in Sioux Falls, where Crystal was taken after her accident,
Gordon told a nurse, "If it comes down to it, she wanted to be a donor."
Deb said after Crystal died, "they let us have our time with her, and then
when we came out of the room, and they shoved us into another room, and they
were after us." "Well, they have to move fast," Gordon said. "There's a group
of doctors that fly in and do the surgeries, and off they go with the organs.
But they were professional and decent to us. "It was not easy to do this,
and I'm not sure I could've if I didn't know she wanted it. "Gordon and Deb
both emphasize that although it feels strange at first, the donation proved
to be a huge comfort, especially after they got a letter describing many
people whose lives had been saved, and how long those people had waited for
a donation. "This tells us that some of her still lives on," Deb said. "I
guess we took something bad and did some good out of it," Gordon said. It
is possible for the Gravleys to meet the recipients, if they agree. When
the Gravleys feel ready, the one they're most interested in meeting is the
man who received Crystal's heart. According to the letter sent by LifeSource
Upper Midwest Organ Procurement Organization Inc., "A 52-year-old Illinois
native was the recipient for the heart. This man is married and has five
children. He was unable to work prior to his transplant."
"I tell you what, that guy's got the best heart, and a heart of gold."
Words of Love
Our daughter Crystal was the kind of person who, wherever she seemed to go,
she left an impact on people. As her parents, we really had no idea of how
much her spirit and zest for life affected others. Her laughter and smile
could wipe away a bad day in an instant. She had a physical strength and
mental concentration that would make most people envious. Crystal, at age
15, also knew exactly where and what she wanted in life. She was determined
to go to the top and play basketball in the WNBA (Women's National Basketball
Ass.) for North Carolina. We knew she would have made it, too, because she
had a fierce determinaton to succeed. She was stubborn, and would never give
in under pressure. The more pressure, the harder she would try. She was
a player, not only on the court, but in life itself.
As for the organ donation, that was her gift - her gift of life to others so
that they may go on in life and succeed in whatever it is that they may
be shooting for. But that was Crystal. She was always looking for a way to
better herself. Well, Crystal, we think you made it to the top. You've
given the fight of life to others, no one can top that. Crystal, you have been
an inspiration to us all, and you will be in our hearts forever, You will
never be forgotten.
From Crystal's Parents, Gordon and Deb Gravley
May God truly be with you both and bless you, in all you do.
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