Laurie and Ryan: An Unending Bond

Once you met my Ryan, you never forgot him. It could have been his heart of gold or infectious laugh. He was eager to help others; and for his family, it went beyond love and passion, he was our protector.

When Ryan was 5, I introduced him to hockey, a game he played with grit and joy. He wanted to make sure everyone had the same access to hockey he enjoyed, so he donated his used equipment and arranged scholarships to help offset others’ fees. That’s the kind of life Ryan lived.

Tragically, we lost Ryan on July 19, 2017. My heart shattered and my world crumbled. It’s a grief that’s hard to describe and one I could never have imagined; but I know he is still around, still protecting me and his sisters.

In March 2019, I tore my MCL/ACL and damaged my meniscus following a skiing accident. Doctors told me a surgery would involve tissue from a deceased donor. I immediately remembered Ryan was a donor and thought there was a small chance his tissue would be available. I had an overwhelming feeling to inquire.

I soon learned that his tissue was still available. I called the tissue recovery organization regarding the possibility of using on of Ryan’s tissue grafts for my surgery and found that yes, Ryan’s gifts were ready and available for me.

It doesn’t surprise me that Ryan chose to be a donor. That was my boy, always willing to help others. I never imagined I would be the first recipient of his tissue. He not only helped me but has also helped well over 150 other people with his gifts. His tissue gifts have been distributed to people in 15 states and 11 countries. Ryan will live on forever through strangers he never met!

I had my surgery on May 30, 2019, and I am now walking around with a part of my son’s knee! This is the silver lining in this tragedy! This incredible story is all orchestrated by Ryan, still taking care of his mother, being my protector.