Caitlyn Persinger was 13-years-old when she lost her brother, Chris, in a car accident. After Chris’ death, Caitlyn turned toward the one thing that the siblings shared, their love of sports. When Caitlyn was on the basketball court or soccer field, nothing else mattered. She found a source of peace and comfort, and Chris’ memory continued to motivate her.
At the age of 17, Caitlyn was a standout high school athlete. During a soccer game, she was going in for a tackle when she injured her knee. In that moment, her dreams were put on hold and the one place that Caitlyn had found solace was taken away. Caitlyn had torn her ACL and meniscus. This was a devastating injury for an athlete who was entering her senior year; and with an expected 6-10 month recovery, the emotional and physical turmoil was difficult to face. In a miracle of fate, it was discovered that there was one last remaining tissue available from Chris’ donation. The tissue was a post-tibial tendon, the exact tissue that Caitlyn’s surgeon prefers to use for allograft ACL reconstruction. Chris’ donor tissue, after careful evaluation, was confirmed to be a perfect match for Caitlyn’s ACL reconstruction. Caitlyn received Chris’ 64th and final gift.
“I always knew Chris was watching over me, but I never thought he could be a part of me like he is now,” says Caitlyn.
After 5-months of hard work and determination, Caitlyn was ready to return to sports. She finished her high school basketball career and was a strong all-conference player in her final high school soccer season.
Chris Persinger’s choice to be a donor made a difference in this world. His tissue donations helped 64 people in eight states and two other continents, and he was able to donate his corneas to share the gift of sight. His family knows that Chris’ choice to be a donor, and the gifts he gave, serve as a reminder of who he was and the impact he made through his life and in his death.
“Chris, you will live on in each of us, and ‘Oh, the places you’ll go,’” says Caitlyn.