Apr 1, 2013 10:25 AM by Samantha Ptashkin
ORO VALLEY, Ariz.-When Caitlin Korte sifts through old family photos she remembers her brother Nick, a guy who she says was full of life. "He was a character, he loved to play music, he was really creative, he loved to draw," Korte says.
So it didn't take her by surprise when a few years ago Nick came home from school at Canyon del Oro High School and showed his family an organ donor card. "My mom put it in her night stand not thinking about it, because it's not one of those things you think about," Korte says.
Until last November.
"We got a call at one in the morning saying he had a gunshot wound to the head," Korte says.
Nick, who was living in Phoenix at the time, had killed himself. He was just 20-years-old. "It was a shock," Korte says. "It's not something you expect to hear."
As Korte and her family struggled to make sense of Nick's death, one thing was clear. "It wasn't even a hesitation, it was just immediately something we knew, it was something Nick would have wanted," Korte says.
They donated Nick's organs. In less than five months, he has saved five lives. "Then he also donated tissue, so we don't know how many people he saved through tissue, but it could be over 20," Korte says.
Every once in a while she says her family will get a letter in the mail from a recipient, thanking Nick for his decision to donate. "We'll be having a terrible week and then it just makes us feel so much better because we can see how he's living on and saving other people," Korte says.
Now it's something Korte and her parents hope to do one day. A couple days after Nick died, they all signed up to be organ donors.
Gov. Jan Brewer has declared April "Donate Life Month".
To learn more about how you can be a donor head to: www.azdonorregistry.org/