Shelby Forester
Organ Donor
Age 16 - Beaumont, TX
Date Of Donation: 1/3/11
Hospital: Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital

My daughter Shelby Forester was my special gift from God and a true blessing, born prematurely on March 19th, 1994 weighing just three pounds.  She spent the first month of her life in the NICU fighting for her first breath.  As a toddler doctors prepared us for possible developmental delays and Cerebral Palsy.  

Against all odds Shelby was perfect in every way.  We learned quickly that Shelby was just eager to live and make her mark on this world, she had
a zest for life like no other.  At only sixteen years old she was wise beyond her years and always thinking ahead.  Shelby was a positive role model for her little sister.  She aspired to be an elementary school teacher and help others. Her outgoing personality and love of life created a huge circle of friends from all walks of life. She loved life and always put others above herself.  To know Shelby was to love her, she was a beautiful person from the inside out. She was an honor student, a member of her high school tennis team, an active part of the church youth group and worked part time to save up for her first car. 

On January 3rd, 2011 we received the call that every parent dreads, Shelby was involved in a car accident.  Nothing could have ever prepared my family for this.  Our lives are changed forever because of one person’s decision to drive while intoxicated.  Shelby was riding home with a group of four friends after enjoying a day at the beach when the car she was in got hit from behind by a drunk driver who was over four times the legal limit.  She was ejected from the vehicle and sustained horrific and devastating injuries to her little body.  Sadly, another beautiful young life was cut short due to driving under the influence.

Fighting for stricter laws and harsher punishments will never bring back what we lost, but we hope it will prevent other families from suffering such a tragedy.  Being a nurse I am aware of the many lives that are lost each day while waiting for a donor.  Shelby and I had discussed organ donation just weeks prior since she had planned to apply for her driver’s license in the next two days. 

In life Shelby was such a giving person, she knew without a doubt, in order to help others, organ donation was the right choice.  In life she gave family and friends love, laughter, friendship and joy and we knew she would want to give someone else the opportunity to have a better life.  Although future has been altered, we have new goals; fighting for DWI/DUI Laws to change and expressing the importance of Organ Donation.

I know Shelby would not agree with the term hero, but with the life she lived, impact she made and the final gift she gave, in my heart and mind, she exemplifies the true spirit of a hero, my hero, my daughter…..Shelby Forester
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