Local family shares story of how daughter's donated organs saved others

BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX)- On February 16, Vanessa Harrison of Killeen was involved in head-on crash on her way to Houston. The 24-year-old was transported to CHI St. Joseph Health in Bryan where she passed away two days later from her injuries.

Her family wanted her legacy to live on and decided to have Vanessa’s organs donated.

“I was like, well it’s one more chance to hear her heartbeat, even if it’s not in her chest, we’re all for it,” said Dwayne Harrison, Vanessa’s father.

Her mother was also adamant about continuing to spread the joy of Vanessa to others.

“This is something that we have to do, we can’t just let it be, we have to preserve her memory, we have to do something to let the world know that she was here,” said Gay Harrison, Vanessa’s mother.

Doctors with CHI St. Joseph Health in Bryan say those donations saved the lives of three other people.

“That’s really exponential it’s not just those three lives that she has saved, it’s every life that she’s impacted,” said Greg Emmons director of critical care “You have to think about all the lives those three will impact as well.”

CHI St. Joseph Health is partnered with Southwest Transplant Alliance. The non-profit group helps families like the Harrisons walk through the donor process.

In 2018, organs donated by CHI St. Joseph Health patients saved the lives of 33 people. So far, in 2019, seven lives have been save including those who now have a piece of Vanessa with them.

Across that nation, more than 114,000 people are on the national organ transplant waiting list. Roughly 10,000 of those people are in the state of Texas.

If you or anyone you know would like to become an organ donor click on the link in the related links section.