ADOT MVD Saves Lives Month08/26/2019
Tyler Hedstrom, 17, died by suicide, but his prior decision to be a donor gave many people hope of a restored life through cornea and tissue donation.
While at the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division (ADOT MVD) getting his license, Tyler Hedstrom checked the box to give the gift of life. His mother, Sheila Hedstrom-Pelger, recalls the moment he made the selfless choice.
“He said, ‘Why, yeah, of course. Why wouldn’t you check this box?’” says Hedstrom-Pelger. “I just remember him saying that, because that’s just how he was. Just checked the box and that was it.”
Hedstrom was a seemingly happy kid, with a talent for drumming and dreams of becoming a rock star. But in July 2017, at just 17 years old, he died by suicide. It came as a shock to his family, particularly his mother, who had no idea the teenager was suffering.
“Now I’m learning he was already full deep in the depression. It just did not show,” says Hedstrom-Pelger. “He was very talented. He was a drummer. He was about to start his senior year of high school. He was just always a good kid.”
Through the tragedy of losing her son, Hedstrom-Pelger finds hope and healing knowing her son changed the lives of numerous people with his generous gifts of donated corneas and tissue. Hedstrom gave many people a second chance at a full life, whether through restored mobility, renewed vision, or reconstructive surgeries for breast cancer patients.
Thanks to a vital partnership, 95% of registrations happen at ADOT MVD. Checking the box is a quick decision that can have an incredible, lasting impact on others. Donor Network of Arizona is grateful for the support of ADOT MVD as we continue to make the most of life through the gift of donation together.