ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A Tampa Bay teen continues to live on through others with organ donation. His mother has made sure of that.
“It’s just been a wild story for the last two years,” said Jennifer Mayhew.
She gave her love to strangers at OneBlood Friday. She loves to talk about her son Elijah and he gives her the motivation to thank people for donating blood and saving lives.
“He’d be 18 today,” she said.
Elijah’s birthday falls not only on Valentine's Day, but also National Organ Donor Day. He passed away in 2017.
“At 15 he knew how important life was. He appreciated life and would do anything for anybody and him being an organ donor wasn’t a surprise to us,” she said.
His last gift was to donate his organs and that gesture saved at least six lives.
“We have Jim and he has my son’s lungs, Kynse who has the kidney and pancreas,” she said. “We also have Valerie who has the other kidney. I just recently received a letter from a lady named Mary who has his liver."
Her son’s death has catapulted her into a new way of life. She started up a nonprofit called Don’t Bury Good Organs with one of Elijah’s recipients. The two held a benefit concert last October and continue to help other families in need.
“God forbid somebody pulls their ID out in front of me because I’m looking over to see if they’re an organ donor,” she said.
Mayhew knows the journey has been good and it’s helped her cope with the pain of losing her son. When asked if she thinks Elijah would be proud she said, “I hope so.”
The only recipient that Mayhew hasn’t been in touch with is the boy who received Elijah’s heart. She hopes that will happen soon.
To donate blood through OneBlood, click here.
If you’d like to sign up to become an organ donor, click here.