From death comes life - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

From death comes life

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By Ryan Houston - bio | email

ALBANY,  GA (WALB) –Today is the beginning of National Minority Donor awareness week. More than 3,000 people in Georgia are awaiting for organ transplants.

And most of the people waiting are African American, Hispanic and Asian. Sheldon and Thelma Johnson lost their 15 year old son January,13 2008.

Shaquille was the oldest of their children. They say he loved sports, people and attending church. Shaquille Johnson loved to play sports." He loved sports and he loved to entertain people. He just loved being around people," said Mother Thelma Johnson.  

"Played football growing up and I coached him while he was young," said Father Sheldon Johnson. But one Sunday afternoon this healthy young man died.

"We we're about to go to church and he had sum discomfort. So he  stayed home, when I got home ,he collapsed and one hour later he died," said Thelma Johnson."No warning signs, I mean he just went from being a healthy young man into collapsing," said Sheldon Johnson. 

And then Life Link the company responsible for organ recovery called the Johnson's to ask. If Sheldon would be a tissue donor?

"He gave the phone to me and my thought was I'm gonna give them a piece of my mind. How dare you ask me that and he's not here with me, how dare they ask me this," said Thelma.

But at the last minute she received strength from a higher power. "At that moment I thought what would Jesus do and I said yes we'll do it," said Thelma.  "We get comfort knowing that part of him is still alive you can know that part of your child is still on this earth," said Sheldon. 

And Shaquille would tell his mom all the time, his best asset was he's eyes because he got them from her. "And that's one of the things they asked for was his best asset what he thought and why not bless someone else with that," said Thelma. 

They still remember to this day the last thing they said to Shaquille. "The last thing I said to him was mama loves you. And he said pray for me. And I said I will," said Thelma."To wake up every morning and go to his room before I went to work and say I love you," said Sheldon. 

And by donating that love will be seen everyday from the person that opens their eyes.  Every year since he's death the family gets together to celebrate his life and memory. 

 And it's really easy to become an organ donor. You can specify on your driver's license and or give your family permission. And just that one donor can affect up to 60 people. ©2010 WALB News. All rights reserved.   Feedback

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