After deadly I-29 crash, 22-year-old’s organ donation will save lives

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Austin Cross lived his life by sharing it with others and always lending a helping hand. Now, even after his death, he'll help even more.

At 22 years old, Austin's life was cut short earlier this month by a suspected drunk driver going over 100 mph on Interstate 29 near St. Joseph. This week his organs will be matched on a long waiting list of nearly 2,500 people in Missouri and Kansas.

Francis Cross said he had no idea his son was registered as an organ donor and wasn't surprised.

"We all said, 'There he goes again. He does not stop,'" Cross said.

Austin's donation will save up to eight people in need of a transplant. Megan Maciel with Midwest Transplant Network said 816 lives were saved in the Midwest service area because of 245 organ donors in 2017.

But the list of families in need of help continues to grow.

"Donation can be such a gift of peace and hope. Even if people die in tragic situations, it means their legacy lives on, their life lives on and they have an incredible purpose in this world," Maciel said.

Friends and co-workers in Maryville remembered Austin's life this week with a banner in front of the restaurant he managed.

"Whoever gets his heart, they better be ready because it`s a big one," Cross said.

To register as an organ donor through the Midwest Transplant Network, visit this site.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Cross' family pay for medical expenses.

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