14-year-old's family recounts brave decision to donate organs, save 6 lives
(2/14/2020) - On the corner of Dort Highway and Mohawk Avenue in Flint, sits a memorial for 14-year-old Stewart Case.
It's been there since he died October 2, 2019.
Stewart was hit by a car while crossing the street early that morning. His family said he was headed to his girlfriend's house to ask her to the Homecoming dance.
"It's really hard," his Mom, Vanessa Andrews, explained. "We have his ashes up in the hutch. So he's home, but not the way I want him home."
Andrews keeps her son close. But that's not all she has left of him, there's a gold medallion next to his ashes commemorating his Gift of Life.
On this National Organ Donor Day, his family is urging anyone who has not yet, to consider becoming an organ donor.
If anything, she said, it helped her family grieve Stewart's sudden death.
Andrews shared a video with ABC12 of her final goodbye to her son as he headed to a hospital in Ann Arbor. That's where that Gift of Life donation was made.
Stewart's organs and tissues were donated. Andrews said everything but his lungs went to people in need.
"It was definitely bittersweet. My son, in this tragedy, something good came out of it," she said.
Stewart's Mom received a letter from Gift of Life Michigan recently, telling her about the lives her son saved.
Stewart's heart went to a 14-year-old boy and a 5-month old baby girl has part of his liver.
"It was something Stewie would've wanted. He was just that kind, caring kid," Andrews said.
And, she added it really was Stewart's wish.
He died a month shy of his 15th birthday. The two had plans to get Stewart's ID on that big day. And, Andrews said that Stewart already knew he wanted the red heart on it.
"I'm very proud of him. I'm very proud of him," she said. "I was proud of him in life and like I said, I'm even prouder of him in death."
Andrews has not yet connected with the families who received her son's organs. But, she does plan to reach out to Gift of Life to see if the families are willing to meet her.
Gift of Life Michigan says right now, there are nearly 3,000 people in the state waiting on organ donations.
One person can save up to eight lives through organ donation; and, they can help up to 75 people through tissue donation.