MedWatch: Soldier becomes organ donor after passing

MedWatch: Soldier becomes organ donor after passing -4/10/2019

LAWTON, OK (TNN) -April is National donate life month. One organ donor can save up to 8 lives. It's a selfless act that can change someone else's life forever.

Alex Armstrong was a soldier who served in the military for a year. He was 18 years old when he passed away and then became an organ donor, who saved 7 lives.

“We really got close to the family, his story and everything that he was able to do after his passing to contribute to society,” said registered nurse Shannon Helton.

Helton and Laura Thomas are both registered nurses in the ICU. To help honor Alex for being an organ donor, a team of ICU nurses decided to run in LifeShare’s Little Red Heart 5K as a tribute to him and his family.

“We bought some of his t-shirts in support of him, ran in his honor the 5K in OKC,” said Helton. “It was freezing cold, but we did it.”

“Being such a tragic situation that happened to his life and his family to go through that, we became close to them, and this was a way for us to honor him and to honor his family,” said Thomas.

Alex’s mother said the nurses treated her son as if he was their own, and everyone provided them all the compassion and care their family needed during the difficult time of losing their son.

“Not only are we there in a critical acute type need, but we want to help the families transition through the dying and the passing process to understand that we’re here to provide respectful dignified care to their loved one no matter what situation,” said Helton.

Helton says she has kept in contact with Alex’s family, since his passing.

“We’re here for them,” said Helton. “We’re moms and brothers and sisters and we understand what they’re going through. It’s not just a job, it’s more of a journey of emotion when we have the opportunity to take care of those patients.”

If you would like more information on becoming an organ donor, you can go to lifeshareoklahoma.org.

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