From the Heart: Celebrating National Donor Day02/14/2019
Not all heroes wear capes, but Jared Joseph “Bear” Griffith is proof that all of us have the power to save and heal lives through donation.
In the fall of 2017, at just 10 years old, Bear gave the gift of life when his asthma turned fatal. Although he was too young to have registered himself as a donor, a past conversation made it an easy decision for his parents, Corrina and Jared Paul.
“He somehow cared more about everyone else than himself,” says Jared.
A Superhero Gives Back
A poster of Superhero Guidelines hung above Bear’s bed, and he really took them to heart. For example, Bear learned Spanish to help out a classmate who hadn’t learned English yet. His new skills allowed him to help her when she needed.
In his short life, Bear learned giving back was important. He helped others in unique ways, always sharing his generosity with others. Bear’s parents, former members of law enforcement, encouraged him.
Through their loss, Bear’s family was inspired when he saved two people with his kidneys and liver, and restored vision for a third person with a double cornea transplant. Doctors recovered Bear’s heart valves for future transplant – which go to pediatric patients roughly 75 percent of the time.
Hearts Beat On
Donor Network of Arizona transplanted 132 heart valves in 2018. Three out of four heart valve transplantations saved pediatric patients.
“Bear had an aura, a charisma, a quiet yet powerful confidence about him that attracted young and old alike,” his dad says. “Bear always said and did what he felt was right, and we have learned he affected many more people in amazing ways than we had already known.”
Observed every year on February 14, National Donor Day is dedicated to spreading education about organ, eye and tissue donation, as well as recognizing those who have given the gift of life, just like Bear. It is a day to recognize those who received the gift of life through donation, those who are currently waiting for a lifesaving transplant, and those who died waiting because an organ was not donated in time. Help us celebrate National Donor Day by registering to save a life at DonateLifeAZ.org.