DURHAM, N.C. — Delores Benton Evans has lived through heartbreak and healing, and is now dedicated to helping others understand the importance of transplantation.
What You Need To Know
Ryan Benton Evans saved his mother and at least four others by becoming an organ donor before his death in 2008
April is National Donate Life Month
3,000 North Carolinians are waiting for organ donations, according to HonorBridge
She suffered from kidney disease for over 30 years, fighting through congestive heart failure and hypertension, along with type 2 diabetes.
Her son, Ryan Benton Evans, underwent testing to attempt to be a living donor for his mother but was turned down due to a genetic issue.
That all changed in 2008, when he tragically died from a gunshot wound at the age of 32. Doctors explained they could safely proceed with a kidney transplant after his death.
The very next day, Evans went into surgery. Doctors told her she was the first patient to receive a kidney from a deceased child at UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill.
“I’m on bonus time,” Evans said. “Because of Ryan, I’ve lived an extra 13 years, working on 14.”
Ryan Benton Evans’ life saved his mother and at least four others, including Jim Hatchell, who received his heart.
“Without Ryan I wouldn’t be able to see my granddaughter, and I have a grandson that’ll be born in July. So I wouldn’t be able to see him either. Or probably my youngest son getting married, without Ryan,” Hatchell said.
Today, Evans shares her heartbreaking story with others in hopes of raising awareness and helping other families in their healing.
“Just to be able to know that Ryan still lives. He’s beating in Jim’s chest, and I can feel him right here. So we each carry a part of my son,” Evans said.
There are currently more than 100,000 people waiting for an organ transplant, including 3,000 North Carolinians, according to HonorBridge.
The Durham nonprofit says 20 people die every day, waiting on that list.
Taylor Anderton, the communications director of HonorBridge, says one organ donor can save up to eight lives and enhance 75 more.
“[It’s] a pretty amazing gift that I think we can give to our fellow North Carolinians,” Anderton said. “To be there and to be a beacon of hope and light to those people who are currently waiting.”
You can learn more and register to become an organ donor by clicking here.