KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Teri Whiting flips through an album of her son, Cody’s pictures. It’s a brief stroll through the memories until she pauses on the last one.
“This picture was the most recent. It was taken two weeks before we lost him,” Teri said.
Cody died after being badly hurt in a car accident. He was only 16 years old.
“I think you know your child’s going to be in an accident, but you assume they’ll walk away, you know, and they don’t always walk away,” Teri said.
When they got the news Cody was brain-dead, Teri and her husband were approached about making a decision to donate his organs.
“Honestly, it’s terrible. I’m pretty sure they picked me up off the hospital floor at some point during that,” Teri said.
As terrible of a decision as it was for Cody’s family, they decided he would want to help someone else live even if he couldn’t, and they wanted that, too.
“I didn’t want anybody to have to suffer what I was feeling. I mean if I could save someone else from having to go through what I was going through at that moment, then that was the right choice to make,” Teri said.
Teri has since committed her time to spreading the word about organ donation, informing families and medical professionals of the good and bad parts of the process.
“If I can help anybody in any way by sharing my story, I feel I’m doing the right thing,” she said.
She encourages families, especially families with younger children to discuss organ donation, even if it’s not pleasant.
Because she says knowing a part of her son lives on in others eases at least some of the pain. Right now in the United States there are more than 1,800 children waiting on the organ transplant list, according to Donatelife.net.
There are 76 children from infants to 17 years old waiting for organs in Missouri, according to the organ procurement and transplantation network. There aren’t numbers available for children waiting in Kansas.