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Parents Say Organ Donation Was Sign Of Daughter's Love

These stories will change from time to time

Dear Cassie,

In Loving Remembrance of Julia E. Brown

I am writing this letter to you because I want you to know more about our sister Julia. You were so young when she left us. This is only my perspective. You should also talk to our other brothers and sisters and our parents to get a more complete account of Julia's life. Julia went into the hospital for the last time when she was fifteen years old. Both you and I were there too. You came along because you were too young to be away from our mother. I came along to help care for Julia. It was a long and difficult hospitalization for Julia. The treatments made her sick and weak and very tired. You were one bright spot in this difficult time. Julia loved you very much. Julia knew she would never have children of her own because of her treatments. You gave her the opportunity to love and hold a baby that would always be part of her life. Before Julia went into the hospital, she tried to spend as much time with you as possible. She sang to you, danced with you and read to and played with you whenever she could. Julia would do your hair for church on Sundays and hold you on her lap during the service. We have many pictures of you as a baby because Julia would take pictures of you at every opportunity. She called you her special baby. After Julia went into the hospital, you would make her smile when no one else could. You would lie beside her in her bed. She would still sing to you. It was harder for Julia to sing then because she was so weak. She would take a deep breath and start. Her voice was soft and shaky, but she would finish the song for you. You would sit there mesmerized. One day, after Julia lost her hair, she place her head in your lap. You were so small that her head took up your whole lap. You smiled and rubbed her head. (Julia always had such soft and smooth skin.) Than, you leaned over and wrapped your arms around her head and embraced her. You loved her as she loved you. I know that this letter does not nearly cover the events of Julia's life. I only want it to make you thnk about her and remember how much she loved you. Over the years, I am sure that you will learn a great deal more about our precious Julia. We will join Julia in heaven someday. There will be no need for letters to remind us of old memories and lives then. We will be spending eternity in the joy of togetherness and making new memories. Until that time, remember.

I wonder
What would have happened
~ if someone could have donated ~
For Julia's sake?

With love to you Cassie,
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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