SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — It’s news many hoped they wouldn’t hear. Austin Elder, 19, succumbed to his injuries on Thursday after falling 100 feet off Arkansas’ iconic Whitaker Point over the weekend. He suffered two massive strokes Wednesday evening that left him brain dead. According to KFSM, his family has decided to donate his organs, however they must keep him on life support long enough for the medicine to leave his system.
“This is the best way we can honor him. There is no hope, he’s really gone,” Tina Bare, aunt, said in an interview with KFSM’s Meredith Baldwin on Thursday.
Elder’s story touched thousands across the country. Family, friends, even strangers rallied around the family, offering their prayers via Twitter and Facebook. His mother was moved to tears by the show of support.
“The outpouring has been amazing from our community,” said Gina Rogers, mother on Monday in an interview with KFSM. “It’s been overwhelming, and that gives us the strength to get through these times knowing that our friends — and people we don’t even know — are praying for our son who is fighting for his life.”
Elder was the only person to have ever survived a fall from Whitaker Point. He was transported to a trauma center in Springfield, Mo., where doctors kept him in a coma. He suffered head trauma, a collapsed lung, broken pelvis and internal bruising. Elder will remain in Springfield until his organs can be donated.
The family’s choice to donate his organs was really his own. According to his aunt, Elder chose to be an organ donor the last time he renewed his driver’s license.
The Prayers for Austin Elder Facebook page had amassed over 12,000 likes as of Thursday afternoon.
For further updates on Elder, visit 5NewsOnline.com.