Mario Cousins was declared brain dead after being shot in the head by a stranger in 2016. In light of this, his family decided to donate his organs and ended up saving the lives of 5 strangers.
“As a result of receiving Mario’s liver, I was able to meet my granddaughter who’s not 11 months old.” explained Sue McCloud, who received Mario’s liver.
Mario’s family donated his organs through the nonprofit Gift of Hope, which coordinates organ and tissue donation in Illinois and Indiana. They have helped have over 23,000 lives with organ donations.
In January, Mario’s family spent the weekend with the recipients of his organs, and went to church with them. Mario’s mother Emma O’Neal even got to hear her son’s heart beating inside recipient Pam Morris.
“I wish everybody could just have an experience like this. Of seeing these families get together and seeing what organ donation does for our community, for our families. I don’t think anybody would ever say no to donation again if they just got a chance to feel just a little piece of what we feel every day at Gift of Hope,” explained the nonprofit’s president and CEO Kevin Cmunt.
Right now, there are almost 115,000 people who need organs in the U.S, and one organ donor can save up to 8 lives.