Be A Hero: Story of Tragedy & Victory

Feb 17, 2011
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When you are visiting a loved one in the hospital, you meet people in the hallways or at Ronald McDonald House, but you never know how you might touch another life.

Evan Cousineau went from an seemingly healthy nine-year-old boy to no-hope-without-a-transplant in nearly the blink of an eye. He was diagnosed with ALD, a metabolic disease that affected the adrenal glands and white matter of the brain. Doctors said ALD would painfully claim Evan’s life in the next 6-12 months. Evan’s sister Mary had not been a match for Evan’s bone marrow transplant. His family created a CaringBridge website to post information about becoming a donor for Evan. He did receive a bone marrow transplant which was considered a miracle. Tragically, he later died due to complications.

While grieving, Mary thought about the many other families she had met while her brother was hospitalized and those she met at Ronald McDonald House. One of those families was a mom, Kelly Lawson, and her two-year-old son Dominik who was suffering from kidney failure. The kidney his mom had given him had failed, so Kelly and Dominik stayed at Ronald McDonald House while awaiting a new donor match which needed to be a perfect match since his previous transplant was rejected.

Mary didn’t forget about little Dominik. In fact, she became convinced after Evan had died that she could make a difference in helping to save Domink’s life. Without telling Kelly, Mary was tested to see if she was a kidney transplant match for Domink. The transplant center determined that Mary was 100% compatible and couldn’t be a closer match had she been Domink’s sibling.

Three weeks later, with Mary’s gift of life, Domink had a new kidney that his little body didn’t reject,  as well as a new lease on life. Here’s a video to see Domink’s story.

The Cousineau’s continue their work on Caring Bridge which encourages people to “Be a Hero, Become a Donor.”  The slideshow below, created by high school students in honor of Evan Cousineau, seeks to educate and raise awareness of the need for donors.

There is so much suffering in this world, but it seems unless it touches a person’s family, most of us continue on through life without being aware of the desperate need for organ donors. You might be able to save the life of a loved one or of a complete stranger.

To read Mary’s story in her own words, download Guideposts free eBook Angel Sightings: 7 Inspirational Stories About Heavenly Angels and Everyday Angels on Earth. Another place to be inspired, some hopeful, some tearjerkers, is Touching Lives One Person at a Time.

Author: Tessa