FORT WAYNE – When he was just a little guy, Kane Krinn wrote a paper for school about how much he liked to help.
He liked to help do the dishes, work in grandma’s garden and help with farm chores.
Krinn is still helping today, though he died in 2008 from an accidental shooting in Wells County.
On Friday morning, Krinn’s mother, Tonya Hobson, shared Krinn’s legacy through organ and tissue donation during an event at Lutheran Hospital.
Hobson, a Lutheran employee, said she did not know Krinn consented to organ and tissue donation when he got his driver’s license.
But when the big-hearted 17-year-old died, Hobson received a call from the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization.
She tried to put them off until the next day. No, they told her, if you want to do it, you have to do it now.
I asked them Will you hurt him?’ she said, wiping tears from her eyes. I didn’t want him to be hurt.
However, Hobson did want to honor him, and his wishes. His heart could not be used because it had been damaged by the shotgun blast, and Hobson wasn’t sure if there was anything else they could use.
It turned out, there was a lot more. In the five years since his death, his corneas have given sight to two people. Other tissues have gone for grafts, and a few are still pending, Hobson said.
The event, sponsored by Lutheran Hospital’s donor council, is part of National Donate Life month. Also on hand were donation recipients, the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization and the Indiana Lion’s Eye Bank.
Many wore lime-green or light-blue T-shirts and linked hands in solidarity with the more than 1,400 Indiana residents waiting for organ or tissue transplants.
Julie Braun, 55, received a double lung transplant in May 2004 after a diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis.
The gift most certainly extended her life, she said.
If it wasn’t for my donor, I wouldn’t be here today, Braun said.
Her last child graduates from high school this year, and she has two grandchildren.
It’s just such a wonderful gift, she said. Long after you’re gone, you can live on.
Jama Fry, the nurse manager at Lutheran’s medical-surgical intensive care unit, said the decision to donate belongs solely to the individual.
But, she said, it is important to have such discussions with family members so that, in the face of a sudden, tragic event, the wishes of the person can be honored.
It can provide peace, knowing it is consistent with their wishes, she said.
Through her work at Lutheran as a patient access registrar, Hobson occasionally encounters transplant recipients.
They’re healing (to me), she said. It helps me to see those people.
Kane was the youngest of her sons, and a gentle giant. At his funeral, Hobson heard many stories of people he’d helped.
He had a heart so big, she said.
When she was putting together some photographs, around the anniversary of his death, Hobson found the item he wrote for school – a couple of pages of his love of helping.
This is the plan, she said. This is God’s plan. Look at all the people that he’s helped.