Families honor organ donors

Mother teams up with daughter's organ recipient to encourage registration

Published On: Mar 15 2013 10:01:09 PM EDT   Updated On: Mar 16 2013 12:15:44 PM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Two parents who both lost children at a young age have combined forces to register organ donors.

Monica Chambless' 21-year-old daughter Christine was hit by a car and killed last December.

"She was the most amazing person," said Monica Chambless. "She had to help everybody, so I know this is exactly what she wanted to be done."

Christine made plans to help others before she died. The young woman registered to be an organ donor. Now, her legacy carries on through six other people.

Chambless said she was determined to find good from the tragedy of losing her daughter.

"I don't think I could have gotten through it if there wasn't recipients, they keep me going," said Chambless.

Leo Faherty, Jr. was one of those recipients. Two years ago, Faherty received Christine's lungs.

"I'd have died," said Faherty. "Simple as that, if it hadn't been for the organ donation."

Faherty was first impacted by organ donation nearly three decades ago. His son Paul died at 14-years-old. Faherty made the decision to donate his organs.

"I still think Paul and Christine must have gotten together in heaven and taken care of me," said Faherty.

This week, Faherty and Chambless campaigned to sign up new organ donors. In that time period, Florida reached 7 million registered donors -- a huge milestone for the state. The only other state that has 7 million organ donors is California. 

"It's super exciting but we don't want to stop doing our jobs until all 117,000 of those men, women and children waiting for that life-saving organ transplants have received their transplant," said Amy Reese with LifeQuest Organ Recovery

Touched by the gifts their children left behind, Faherty and Chambless hope everyone on the list get the organs they're awaiting. The two are urging people who are not yet donors to sign up.

"Everybody has a chance to be a hero and Christine is mine," said Faherty.

Registering to be an organ donor is free and only takes a few minutes. Visit donatelifeflorida.org to register.