Organ donation is one of the most selfless gifts a grieving family can give to others.
The family of Daniel Bassillo of New Jersey was forced to make this decision after the 28-year-old died suddenly from an asthma attack. Dan’s sister, Alexa Bassillo, says that although they were left reeling by her brother’s tragic and unexpected death, the family didn’t hesitate to choose the ultimate act of kindness as his legacy.
“We didn’t even hesitate when they asked us if we wanted to donate,” Alexa explained. “I don’t even think we really had to talk about it.”
As of August 2017, there are more than 114,000 people who are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Twenty of those people on the wait list will die every single day. Sadly, while most people support organ donation, they don’t always think to sign up or make their wishes known to their loved ones. But for Dan’s family, the choice was clear.
“He was the smartest person I know. He taught me everything from working on our Jeeps and him showing me how to change my oil and stuff like that. He taught me about superheroes and answered all my ‘Game of Thrones’ questions along with literally any other question I’ve ever had. I guess he was whoever he needed to be for the person who needed him. And [I’m] really blessed to be in the major part of his life and soo grateful that he was there all my life.”
As the Bassillo family tried to pick up the pieces and adjust to a life without their loved one, they received a letter that left them awestruck by the lives Dan had changed with his final act of generosity. The letter detailed the many people who received Dan’s organs and tissue, giving them a chance at longer, healthier lives.
The letter says:
Thank you for making the selfless decision to give life to others. In the midst of your grief, you said yes to saving lives and restoring health to people in need. Families like yours give us renewed hope that kindness and generosity still exist.
We would like to share with you some information about the recipients of your son’s gift.
Daniel’s heart was transplanted into a 32-year-old male.
Daniel’s liver was transplanted into a 54-year-old female in New Jersey. She is married with one child. She was placed on the transplant waiting list in February of 2007. The liver had immediate function and she is expected to have a full recovery. Also a liver segment was transplanted into a 1-year-old boy.
Daniel’s pancreas and left kidney were transplanted into a 36-year-old male. He was placed on the transplant waiting list in November of 2018. The organs had immediate function and he is expected to have a full recovery.
Daniel’s right kidney was transplanted into a 6-year-old boy.
Daniel was also able to be a tissue donor. Donated tissue can dramatically improve the quality of life for those suffering from chronic pain and impaired mobility.
Please accept our heartfelt condolences for your loss. Our hope is that you find some comfort in knowing that these gifts have made an impact on others. Today, people awake to a new day because of caring families like yours.
This letter turned out to be the closure the Bassillo family needed. Just knowing that their son had helped so many sick people get better made their hearts swell with love. While they will always grieve for their loss, the ripple effect that his donation caused will touch the lives of countless other families in the world.
“[His] death was so sudden and tragic it kinda helps to believe there was a reason he had to go, which was that others could live,” Alexa explained. “I hope he at least died for something bigger and I’m sure when my parents see that 6-year-old boy or hear my brothers heart beating in another man’s chest it’ll be comforting for them.”
In order to spread awareness for organ donation, Alexa shared this letter on Reddit along with the caption:
“My 28 year old brother tragically passed away on December 3rd. Today we got this list of all the people who he was able to save by donating his organs. Only 1% of people who die get to donate organs. My brother was my best friend and now not only mine but a hero to these people as well. RIP Dan.”
The post quickly went viral, spreading awareness and feelings of compassion throughout the internet. Alexa says that she hopes it will encourage others to sign up to be organ donors themselves, or to agree to donation if their loved ones should ever pass away as hers did.
“I pray that you don’t lose the most important person in your life but if you can at the very least take that and turn it into something good.. why wouldn’t you want to do that?”
We send our best wishes of healing and love to the Bassillo family during this difficult time. Thank you for helping others even while your own hearts are breaking. We join Alexa in hoping that others will consider organ donation so that they too can turn something horrible into a beautiful gift for those in need.
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