ABERDEEN, MISS. (WCBI) – For Steve and Laura Gaskin, spending time in their son Matthew’s room is one way to deal with a tragedy that struck their family nearly ten years ago. It was January 25th 2008 when the Gaskins got word their 23 year old son had been killed in a car wreck.
“The police came to Lann Chemical, the office I work at, they asked to speak to me, just like you see in the movies and then everything changed in our life,” Steve said.
Matthew had just received his EMT license after changing majors several times as a student at MSU. And about a month and a half before the wreck, Matthew and his parents had a discussion about the importance of being an organ and tissue donor.
“After a man in our church was diagnosed with liver failure and needed a transplant and after church one day we were told about how fast he was declining and we talked about donation and Matthew, said, take everything I have I’m not going to need it where I’am going,” Laura said.
Matthew was able to be a tissue donor. In fact, 48 people in various parts of the country have received tissue from the young man, who wanted to help people.
Now, Matthew’s parents spend a lot of their time educating others about the need for organ and tissue donors. They spoke at a recent event at NMMC for the Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency. The Gaskins encourage families to have frank discussions about organ and tissue donation before a crisis hits.
“The importance of talking with your loved ones , letting them be aware of your wishes so it’s no decision for the family when the time comes,” Laura said.
And although there is no such thing as “closure” after losing a child, Matthew’s parents say it is comforting to know their son has helped people, even after his passing. In fact, they have a letter from an Ohio woman, who is thankful for Matthew’s decision.
Matthew’s parents and siblings have memories of a young man who loved adventure, and wanted to make a difference and they are blessed to know that 48 people have been touched by their son and brother.
For information on how to become an organ and tissue donor, go to www.msora.org