In 2009, 19-year-old Lacey Haye was killed in a motorcycle accident, devastating her family, especially her parents, Stan and Diana. When Lacey filled out her licensing application at the Department of Motor Vehicles, she checked the "organ donor" box.
"Lacey loved Christmas more than anything else," said her father, Stan Haye. "We went out to drink hot cocoa and cut down a Christmas tree in the south hills, that last Christmas we had with her."
Today, her family helped celebrate her double gift of organ donation. This morning, officials from the Idaho Transportation Department, Donate Life Northwest, and the Idaho Donor Registry gathered to commemorate the most special kind of giving: life.
"A gentleman in law enforcement who was down to 90 pounds was given a kidney and liver transplant," said Diana. "Sometimes he’ll write me a letter and say, 'sometimes I can’t help but smile and I know it’s Lacey.'”
Lacey made the decision to become an organ donor with her first trip to the DMV, and again when she renewed her license. Her parents said they were grateful that she had made the decision, and that they didn't have to. With Lacey's decision, she would save the lives of two people, and restore the sight of two more.
"When we first lost her," said her mother, Diana, "I thought of every moment that I wouldn’t have her. But now I think of every moment I did have her."
Donate Life works with states to boost their organ-donor levels, connecting the power of checking the donor box with the average citizen. ITD and the Yes Idaho donor registry help make that possible in the Gem State. Through outreach and education, they're a part of helping save more than 28,000 lives each year.
"Last year, Idaho was one of only five states to win a silver award for what's called the driver donor registry," said Alex McDonald with Intermountain Donor Services. "Over 60 percent of Idahoans have indicated 'yes' on their licenses for organ donation, and that's a national high."
Donate Life and the families of donors contribute memorials in the form of a beautifully decorated, rose-covered float in the Pasadena (Calif.) Rose Parade. In the conference room of the ITD building, the Haye family put the finishing touches on a floragraph of Lacey, created using seeds and bits of flowers.
"Diana once told me that they called Lacey their 'flower girl,'" said Lauren Land, organ donation specialist, the portrait of Lacey with sunflowers hung behind the podium.