Dylan Flew made it easier on his parents in their darkest hour.
Still absorbing the shock of his motorcycle crash and brain injury, Russ and Kathi Flew were asked about donating their 20-year-old son’s organs.
“At that time, we didn’t know that he was an organ donor,” Russ said, softly. “And we were like, ‘Oh boy.’”
They looked at his driver’s license, but didn’t see the organ donation symbol. On a second look, it was there, just smaller than they had expected.
“If that was his wishes that just takes a load off of us,” Russ said.
Kathi notified the growing number of people in the hospital’s waiting room of Dylan’s wishes and said, “Hopefully, he will be able to help some people.”
At that time, Dylan immediately helped five people with his two kidneys, pancreas and lungs. Since then, his tissue has been used in dozens and dozens of surgeries. The accident was in July 2006.
Kathi said finding out Dylan was an organ donor spoke volumes to their son’s character and gave them a little bit of peace during such a terrible time.
“It is probably the worst situation you could ever have, but so much good has come out of it. Not that it makes it worth it, but so much good has come out it. It’s amazing.”
Dylan has since become the star of a campaign for Life Connection of Ohio. Dylan’s picture and the message of saving lives are plastered on trucks.
“When he made a decision to be an organ donor, I don’t know how much Dylan thought about it,” Kathi said, “but I bet he didn’t hesitate to say ‘yes.’”
The Flews told the hospital they wanted to have an open casket, which limited what would be taken. They are not sure what they would have decided if Dylan hadn’t decided for them.
“It was nice to know that was what he wanted,” Kathi said. “We didn’t choose for him. We didn’t try to make him a hero; we didn’t try to put our beliefs on him.”
Kathi has since become an organ donor; Russ hasn’t decided yet. Their son Cody has always been an organ donor.
“I look at it this way. If there is something you can use, use it. I don’t need it at that point. It’s just the vessel at that point; it’s not anything I have to take with me. All these people say you should go home with what you came with … but if it was your daughter laying there at 5 years old and she was only going to live if she had liver transplant, you are going to change your mind.”
Russ also consoled himself knowing that some people who die are burnt in fires or mangled beyond recognition and they had no choice about being buried as a whole person.
Even so, both agree they would never tell anyone want to do when faced with making a decision about organ donation. But they are happy with Dylan’s decision.
“He made something good come out of a bad situation and that makes us feel better,” Russ said.