Covington teen’s legacy of love lives on through organ donation

When 18-year-old Madeline Goldsmith left her home for a day with friends last Fourth of July, she hugged her parents, then as she walked away, turned and smiled, holding up her hand in the curved shape of a half heart. The half-heart gesture was one of her love signs — prompting others to share it back so the two halves made a whole. This was Maddie’s way. She was a connector who always made her feelings known.

Madeline wouldn’t make it home that night. But her final act of love would be to donate her organs and tissues, saving five lives and healing countless others.

Madeline was one of the 344 Washington organ donors honored by Gov. Jay Inslee in an April ceremony at the Capitol building in Olympia. The families of each organ donor received a Gift of Life Award certificate signed by the governor, acknowledging the life-saving gifts of their loved ones.

“As stewards of the gift of life, we witness the power of organ donation every day in the pursuit of our mission. We are grateful for the opportunity to honor donors and their families in a formal ceremony so we may celebrate the second chances they selflessly provided to hundreds of others through organ donation.”

Santokh Gill, president and CEO of LifeCenter Northwest
Goldsmith Family

Given Madeline’s passion for life and the opinions she shared about literally everything, it came as no surprise to her family that she was a registered organ donor.

“Of course she did that,” shares Madeline’s mom, Laura Goldsmith. “We have a strong foundation of faith in our family, and we know that when we die, our bodies are not who we are. We all had an understanding that it [organ donation] was just what we would do.”

But after receiving letters from three of her daughter’s recipients, it was the profound impact of Madeline’s gifts that took her aback.

“She’s a hero,” says Goldsmith. “I had no idea how rare organ donation is, and it’s meaningful to know that some good came from our tragedy.”

April is National Donate Life Month. You can make a difference by joining the organ, eye, and tissue donor registry and sharing this decision with your family.

See more photos from the Washington state Governor’s Gift of Life Award Ceremony.