Jade was one of those people that you could go to if you ever had any problems. Someone whose presence would lighten up the room. Jade would sing to you, make funny faces, and send you that perfect picture to cheer you up. Anything to just make sure you were okay.
Jade was truly someone you would want to be around. A “loving, tender-hearted, sweet spirited girl” said Heather, Jade’s mother. She loved her friends, her job, her family, her dogs, and her car which she named Pretty Woman. With such gentle kindness and care for others, it is no surprise that Jade was someone other people could lean on. Someone who others could cherish moments of pure joy and happiness with.
In April of 2015, Jade completed suicide. There was no indication of depression or signs that showed she was struggling on the inside. For someone who spent so much time making others happy and embracing a life full of love and care, it was shocking for jade’s family to find out what had happened.
When Heather received the call about donating Jade’s tissue and corneas she was physically unable to talk while experiencing the trauma of losing her daughter. It was in that moment that Jade’s step-father, Joe, became an important part of her donation. Honoring her wishes, he helped provide essential medical information necessary for Jade to be able to be donor.
Generally, authorization from men is considerably lower than that of women. For Heather, the fact that Joe stepped up and was able to make that decision, not only as a man but was also as a step-father, meant a lot. Though it was not an easy decision for Joe, he knew that Jade’s helpful nature would continue to touch others through the gift of donation.
“As any father, Joe was very protective of Jade, and loved her dearly. He knew that being a tissue and cornea donor was important to Jade, and wanted to make sure that her wishes were honored. At the end of the conversation, through many tears, and questions, Joe made the decision to honor his daughter.”
Jade had always been a giving person. When Jade got her license she knew she wanted to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor. It is within that generosity and altruism that Jade’s legacy lives on today. Even in her death she continues to make a difference for others. The tender-hearted love and kindness Jade had has helped heal the lives of her tissue and cornea recipients.
“It meant that even though Jade has left, her legacy has lives on. She was able to help someone, she was able to help another family keep their loved one longer. That has meant the world to us. Knowing our daughter saved a person” said Heather.
For families who might be grieving the loss of a loved one, Heather wants them to know that the pain does go away. In time, you become even more proud of what they were able to do. Jade made the decision to register as an organ, eye, and tissue donor on her own and Heather and her family couldn’t be more proud of her for that.
As a family, Heather, Joe and their two sons, Gabe and Noah, have remained steadfast in moving forward and honoring Jade and her legacy. In life and in death, Jade was so loved by all.
Because of Jade’s heroic and generous decision, sight has been restored, lives have been healed, and families have been given hope. Jade passed too soon, but she did not pass without purpose. Jade use to lighten up the room with her presence, and now she is the light in the lives of the people she helped heal.