Jonathan chose to be an Organ Donor. Just hours after the accident that took his life, Jonathan’s family had to endure a very lengthy, detailed interview with the New Mexico Organ Donor Services. His parents and sister knew nothing about the program except that they were all donors as well. Jonathan’s father, John, who took the call as Jonathan’s spokesperson, could have refused any use of Jonathan’s body. He didn’t because he wanted to honor Jonathan’s wishes. In doing so, Jonathan’s family made it possible for other lives to be forever enhanced.
The family received a letter from the New Mexico Lions Eye Bank which, in part, states:
“through your caring, there are now two people whose lives have been forever linked to Jonathan. These people have had their eyesight restored because of your understanding and the miracle of transplant surgery...”
We know that two people today are “seeing through Jonathan’s eyes.” Knowing that Jonathan will live on not only spiritually through his work which we will continue, but also physically because of the Organ Donor program is of great solace.
Legislation in Jonathan's Name
One of Jonathan’ dear friends, Representative Al Park from Albuquerque initiated in Jonathan’s name in 2002 the legislation (the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act) in the New Mexico House of Representatives to make the heart on New Mexico drivers’ licenses (donor designation) a legal, binding document. The unanimously-voted and signed bill made New Mexico one of the few states with such legislation. This legislation, enacted on May 15, 2002, gives the medical staff permission to use organs without further permission from surviving family members, thus alleviating the family from the agonizing call, additionally, 60 more lives will be saved and/or enhanced.
Because of Jonathan and the recent statewide awareness of organ donation, more legislation has been enacted in recent years - tax credits, organ donor license plates and during the 2007 Legislative Session, Representative Al Park’s original bill (HB1276) was reintroduced, revised and formally named the “Jonathan Spradling Uniform Anatomical Gift Act.”
Fact: Over 50% of the time during this deepest grief, families do not honor their loved one’s wishes. When this happens, the opportunity to help up to 60 different people (8 life saving)
is forever gone.
People of all ages and medical histories should consider themselves potential donors. Your medical conditions at the time of death will determine what organs and tissue can be donated.
· All major religions approve of organ and tissue donations.
· An open casket funeral is still possible for donors.
· There is no cost to the donor’s family or estate.
Currently, over 400 New Mexicans await a life-saving organ transplant (over 97,000 nationwide). The Spradling family, like so many, knew they were donors, but not much more. Now, one of the missions associated with Jonathan’s Memorial is to support, campaign for and inform as many as possible of this tremendous opportunity.
For more information on Organ Donor Services, please visit: www.donatelife.net.