John Alexander Lefferts
Organ Donor
Age 22 -Springfield, IL
Date of Donation: 10/11/2004
Memorial Medical Center; Springfield, IL

John Alexander Lefferts, was born November 7, 1981 in Springfield, Illinois.  Seventeen months later, he was followed by sister Eleanor.  They were great friends and shared many interests, especially music.  John played in his school's jazz band for 7 years, and was in choir in high school and Madrigals at his junior college.

John also loved politics and was very involved in them at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield.  Among many other activities, he was a student senator, a member of Model  Illinois Government, on a search committee for a new college president, and helped re-establish  his school’s College Republicans.

John was always very loyal, compassionate and loving.  He was the person his friends knew would be there for them whether it was for a shoulder to cry on, a ride because of a flat tire, money to borrow, a couch to sleep on, etc.  His compassion was going to serve him well in his chosen career as a massage therapist.

John began  a professional massage therapy course in August 2004, at Midwest Technical Institute.  He was more excited than we had ever seen him regarding school.  His grades, including the difficult anatomy and physiology course, were outstanding.  You could tell from his excitement and commitment that he would soar in this profession. A dear friend/physical therapist described John as having a "healing aura".

On October 10, 2004, the day after attending his little sister’s senior voice recital, John began complaining of a sore back and an ache in his chest.  Even though the pain didn’t seem excruciating, we still took him to our local prompt care the next morning.  After doing multiple tests throughout the morning, John was sent home with instructions to rest and a prescription for a muscle relaxer.

At John’s apartment, I (Vivian) took a load of John’s dirty clothes out to the car.  He was going to come home for a few days until he felt better.  Upon walking back in, I found John on the floor, unresponsive.  EMTs arrived, worked on John, and transported him to Memorial Medical Center (which is also where he worked part-time).  John was unable to be revived and passed away that day, October 11, 2004, from what we later found out was an aortic dissecting aneurysm.

John was not an organ donor as his organs did not stay oxygenated.  However, his gifts of eyes, bones and tissues have touched 37 people, reaching from Maine to California and Florida to Wyoming.  We know that a staff sergeant’s knee was rebuilt with John’s gift and that two people from Missouri now see the world through John’s eyes.

We have taken great pride and received immense comfort in knowing that John truly lives on.  We advocate for donation awareness so that we can tell John’s story around the country, so that others can be helped by donation, and so that other donor families may know the comfort and healing that is donation!  Life, in all its glory, truly can go on!!

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