Brian Christian Ellis

11/01/1978 - 11/20/2009
Date of Donation: 11/22/2009
Downey Regional Medical Center

The Gift of Life 

Brian Ellis: Nov 1, 1978 – Nov 20, 2009

We each have the power to “touch the heart of another and make a difference in someone’s life.”  My son Brian did both during his life and after his death.  Brian was born with severe “hydrocephalus” (a condition called water on the brain).  Because of his condition, I was told not to expect much, that Brian possessed little brain matter and would probably never walk, talk or even learn to roll over.  We were advised against placing a shunt in his head, which would remove the fluid blocked in his head and give him a chance at life.  We chose to give him that chance.  Brian lived 31 years.
He never grew mentally past the age of a child; he could not read, did not understand time or money, and needed help with his personal needs all his life.  He struggled to do the simplest things we take for granted, and he suffered from “grand mal” seizures; but he grew up healthy and happy, surrounded by family and friends who loved him dearly and miss him deeply.

He taught us all the gift of kindness, forgiveness, and unconditional love.  People who met him would often say to me “he touched my heart.”  Brian had an infectious laugh, a beautiful smile and bright brown eyes.  He cared about the feelings of others.  He was the first to greet a person when they entered a room and the last to say goodbye when they left.

The shunt Brian received at 2 weeks of age lasted 31 years, never needing to be replaced until Nov. 7, 2009.  The surgery was deemed a success. A week later, when recovery was taken for granted, an infection developed and a second surgery was undertaken.  The second surgery was not a success, and that night Brian stopped breathing.

To honor his life, and the beautiful spirit he possessed, we chose to donate his organs.  Through Brian’s donation, 6 lives were saved.  I remember the joy I felt in hearing that a 12 year old girl would receive his heart.  I knew then his death would have a purpose, as sad and tragic as it was to his family.  So many had thought Brian would not achieve much in his life.  But he has done more than many of us ever will.  He gave life to 6 strangers, and still touches the hearts of others and those who would never know him.

One of my most cherished memories is Brian resting his head upon my chest and simply saying to me… “I love you so much Mother…I love you so much.”

He is our hero, he is missed and he will never be forgotten.

God Bless and enjoy life.

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