Tragedies can bring own miracles as well

Published 10:27 am Tuesday, August 23, 2011

If there is no little red heart on the bottom right-hand corner of your driver’s license, think about this quote from my grieving friend, Butch Chatfield, whose younger brother, Todd, was recently fatally injured:

“I hope some 45-year-old man with two kids gets his heart so he can spend the next forty years loving his family. That’s what is helping me get through this.”

Todd Chatfield, 40, certainly didn’t want to die so young. An altercation with a neighbor near his Columbus home prematurely ended his life.

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But, to his family, his tragic death is not in vain.

Since Todd chose to be an organ donor, his life will continue on in the lives of others who desperately need a heart, kidney, lung, liver, pancreas, or other vital organs or tissue, to survive.

The impact of his decision will be felt by countless individuals whose loved ones were healed by his selfless choice to give back to humanity.

If you happen to know Joel Zornes, ask him about his gratitude for a young mother whose untimely death, coupled with her decision to be a donor, breathed life back into his veins.

If you know Charlie Spencer, ask him about the quality of his life since an anonymous live donor provided him a much-needed kidney. Charlie’s situation is unique, but noteworthy, because you do not need to die to donate this vital organ and positively alter someone else’s life…including your own.

Fact: We are all perishable and, someday, we’ll all die. Can you think of a better way to keep your legacy alive than by saving the lives of several other people?

I can’t.

Butch and his family are hurting, but they know that Todd is not entirely gone.

His death, painful as it is to them, is eased by the fact that he is helping others.

Imagine what would happen if your life ended today.

Hopefully, your personal investment in other lives will live into eternity.

But, you also have the opportunity to give something you will no longer need to help someone who is struggling to survive.

That simple, yet far-reaching, gesture might be the one thing that helps your family cope.

And it is as simple as saying “yes” when asked if you would like to be a donor as you renew your driver’s license.

Tragedies happen. So do miracles. Someday, you might be both.

Billy Bruce is a freelance writer who lives in Pedro. He can be contacted at