When Jacob Clayton drew his final breath just days before his 28th birthday, his family agonized over whether to donate his organs. Clayton was known for his kind soul, adventurous spirit and clever one-liners. Ultimately, together, the family acknowledged their collective love language as acts of service and decided to donate Clayton’s kidneys, liver and heart to save three others.

Donor Jacob Clayton

“We’re proud that Jacob has truly helped someone in need,” shared Clayton’s mom, Shauna Smith. “It was the best choice.”

Clayton was a thrill seeker and he loved to bike. He was a natural. He was also witty, caring and a bit of a troublemaker. But he adored his family, his friends and helping others.

“Organ donation has helped heal a small piece of my soul from the death of my brother,” shared Bridgett Crandall, Clayton’s sister. “I get to go on with life knowing that though Jacob’s soul has left his vessel, he continues to live.”

Learn more about Clayton’s legacy in a story from the Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell, Mont.

Clayton is one of the 39 Montana organ donors honored by Gov. Gianforte in a ceremony held April 28, 2023, at the capitol building in Helena. The families of each organ donor received a Gift of Life Award signed by the governor, acknowledging the life-saving gifts of their loved ones.

Lt. Gov. Juras, on behalf of Gov. Gianforte, accompanied by staff from LifeCenter Northwest, the Office of Community Service, and the Motor Vehicle Division, posed for a photo with donor families on the capitol steps following the Gift of Life Award ceremony.

“As stewards of the gift of life, we witness the power of organ donation every day in our work,” said Santokh Gill, president and CEO of LifeCenter Northwest. “We are grateful for the opportunity to honor donors and their families and celebrate the second chances they provided to hundreds of others through organ donation.”

You can be a symbol of hope like Jacob Clayton by registering as an organ, eye, and tissue donor and sharing this decision with your family.