CHICAGO — One year after a teen’s tragic and sudden death, three recipients of his organs are celebrating the gift of life.
16-year-old Jermaine Cullum was playing basketball on May 6 of last year when he collapsed on the court and died. Tarcia Patton and Jermaine Cullum Senior’s tragedy turned into a beautiful story of love and hope.
Thursday, Tarcia and Jermaine met the people their son’s organs saved.
39-year-old Tariq Causay’s kidneys and pancreas were failing. He was diagnosed with diabetes at 16. Now he has a newborn son and a new lease on life.
48-year-old Celia Fabre suffered from a rare genetic disease. She received Jermaine’s right kidney and liver.
Both of Jermaine’s lungs are in Karen Emerich. The 56-year-old had pulmonary fibrosis which scarred her lungs. She’s a Special Ed teacher who had to take an oxygen tank to school. Not anymore.
“I am forever grateful. It’s been wonderful,” she said.
“It was just a joy to meet them,” Tarcia said. “They inspire me with their stories. I’m glad my son was able to help them. “
Jermaine always wanted to be an organ donor even before he could sign up officially. Those that knew him best say it was his nature, to help others and to bring joy to those he met.
For more information on organ donation log on to giftofhope.org