Stecil Hopkins
Organ Donor
Age 17 - Houston, TX
Date Of Donation: 5/21/97
Hospital: Hermann Hospital

    Stecil Benard Hopkins entered this world on October 5, 1979, in Houston, Texas and departed on May 21, 1997 - 17 ½ years which now seem like a whirl-wind stay. As a child, he would often pretend to be a super hero and was going to save the world. Almost from the beginning, he exhibited a giving attitude.

   At a young age, Stecil excelled in both private and public schools often making the honor roll. He seemed to be everybody’s best friend and a favorite amongst family members. His step father loved him as his own son, and as my only child, my love was unconditional. I guided Stecil into all the typical things for a young boy: social organizations, The Boy Scouts and YMCA sports where he was often the team’s star. By the time he was a teenager, he had gravitated on his own to popular pastimes such as video games, basketball and labeled by friends as a master rapper and composer of lyrics.

    May 20, 1997 began like any other school day. Stecil kissed me good bye and was out the door. After school, coming home from a game of basketball with friends, everything came to a crashing end. His best friend called to say there had been a bad auto accident. The police confirmed there was no alcohol or drugs involved, but none of the boys were buckled. Stecil was Lifeflighted to Hermann Hospital. The doctor said he only had a 10% chance of living, and if he did, he would be in a vegetative state. The family prayed for a miracle during the night, but the following morning Stecil was pronounced brain dead.

   During the final hours, although not knowing much about organ donation, I knew it was something I wanted to do, so when the Life Gift representative approached me, my mind was already made up. Initially, my reason for donating was to hold on to a part of Stecil, but deep down I knew that if he were asked, his answer would be, “Take what you need to help someone else,” so that’s what I did. Through Stecil’s organ donations (heart, kidneys and liver) three people received the gift of life.

   The liver recipient was Jennifer Lewis. She has been a God-send, who often and unfailingly acknowledges her sincere gratitude.  She has reached out to me on several occasions from simple, “I’m Thinking of You” cards/letters to inviting me to family celebrations which my husband and I attended. We end our letters and cards with “Forever Connected.” Because of Jennifer’s overwhelming gratitude, she has eased the pain of my loss, knowing that Stecil did not die in vain.

  Stecil’s friends validated his reputation as a very kind-hearted, giving and sensitive person by collectively grieving his death and formed the core of an organization created in his memory called S.T.E.C.I.L. (Strengthened Through Education - Community Inspired Leaders). Life Gift has featured Stecil, Jennifer and me in publications, and a local newspaper featured him and the S.T.E.C.I.L. organization on its front page. Little did Stecil know as a child that he would indeed be a hero. No, he didn’t save the world, but he did save the lives of three and inspired countless others. Part of a poem composed in his memory reads:

                            Now my victory is won, no more suffering and pain

                            I leave part of my earthly body,

                            My love, my memory and my name.
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