Teen Donates Organs, Saves Four Lives

Mike Seals - May 21, 2020 11:27 am

OKLAHOMA CITY – Earlier this year, staff, family and friends lined the hallways of a local hospital to honor Evan Smartt, a teenager of Edmond, Okla., who made a heroic decision to save lives as an organ and tissue donor.

The honor walk, as it’s called, takes place in a pause between death and life; after brain death has been declared and before organs are recovered to save another’s life. It is a powerful act of community. This solemn and sacred walk to the operating room honors the donor’s final act of heroism. It also gives hope to a grieving family in a moment of fathomless loss.

Evan’s generosity did not start with his decision to be an organ donor, however. He is remembered fondly by the community for his caring and selfless heart which he displayed his whole life.

He was always the first to come forward to lend support to someone struggling, whether that was a teacher who needed help unloading her car, a classmate who needed a shoulder and confidential ear or one of his elderly customers at the grocery store who needed their groceries delivered and packed in their car.

Evan liked to have fun, too. He played video games with his siblings – and as many teenage boys do – he enjoyed playing his music loudly. His playlist was an eclectic mix with old school, 80’s, Indie and hymns all combined.

He really enjoyed Fridays, because that was pay day. For Evan, that meant shopping was next, and boy – did he love to shop. He was skilled and passionate at finding a deal and took pleasure in sharing his purchases with friends and family.

As a senior in high school, Evan was highly intelligent and a member of Mensa, a High IQ Society. He had dreams of writing stories he felt people needed to hear and had been accepted with a full academic scholarship to the University of Oklahoma’s School of Journalism. He championed for those on society’s fringe or the underdog of the story. He wanted to write stories and give a voice to those generally considered castaways.

After a tragic event, Evan did not survive, and his family was prompted to make a decision about organ donation. Evan had registered his decision to be an organ donor just six months prior when he received his driver’s license, and his family knew his wishes.

Evan’s family decided to follow through with his decision authorized for him to become an organ donor. Evan saved four lives through organ donation and gave sight to two others.

“As a family, we also like to think of the ripple effect that Evan’s donations had on those recipient families,” Evan’s mom, Shelli said. “Not only did he save the lives of these people, but he generously impacted their family members too.”

As Evan’s heroism was recognized in the honor walk and he was wheeled down the hall and out of sight, his parents said their final earthly farewells. It was at this moment that the family’s devastating loss turned into new hope for six strangers.

Heroes like Evan and his family are needed across the country. More than 113,000 people are currently waiting on lifesaving transplants. More people donate organs every year, but still in 2019 – over 6,500 people died while on the waiting list.

LifeShare encourages all Oklahomans to make the decision about organ donation, to register their decision on a state ID or LifeShareOK.org, and share the decision with their family.


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