Mandy Harrell

Organ Donor
Age 18

Mandy Harrell was a loving daughter, fiercely protective sister, and a faithful friend. A petite 18 year old with an unquenchable love for life, Mandy had just started college to fulfill her dream of being a special education teacher when she was killed in an accident on Labor Day of 2006. Shortly before the accident occurred, she called us and said she was having the best day of her life. Just a short time later, she went from the best day of her life on this Earth straight into the loving arms of her Heavenly Father. Having experienced firsthand the miracle of organ donation 12 years previously, when Mandys grandfather (Poppy) was given the gift of a heart and kidney from a 17 year old boy who died in an accident, our decision to donate Mandys organs and tissues was never in question. We had 9 additional years with Poppy after his transplant and knew the joy that comes for a family when they get the news that an organ is available for their loved one.

 

Our family will never be the same without Mandys bubbly personality and her beautiful smile. While our world was forever changed, so were the lives of the six people who received her organs. Her lungs went to a 54 year old woman from Ohio. We had the privilege of meeting her this summer, and she is so grateful for the gift of new life that Mandy provided. Mandys pancreas and one kidney went to a 43 year old man from Knoxville who lives near our home. He now lives his life free from the constraints of dialysis and no longer requiring insulin or diabetes medication of any kind. Four others, including a little boy who was 11 when he received Mandys heart, received the gift of life from Mandy and are alive today.

 

During her participation in Americas Junior Miss Scholarship Program in July 2005, when asked to name the hypothetical Broadway play about her life, she proudly proclaimed Life is Short and So Am I. She explained that she had always tried to live life to its fullest while being true to the values she had been taught. A scholarship is given each year in Mandys memory to a college bound student at the high school she attended. Purple and green bracelets made by her friends after her death proclaim, Life is Short and her initials, a reminder to all that we are not promised tomorrow. This fall, the Central High School Cheerleading Squad, on which she served for 3 years, named the cheerleading platform in Mandys memory to ensure that she is forever remembered at her alma mater. Each time I tell her story as a volunteer for TDS, her story teaches others of the importance of donation. We are grateful for the time we had with Mandy and so pleased and thankful that her last gifts have provided the opportunity for new life to so many others.

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