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Callie Michele McCraw

1981 – 1998

My (step) daughter was fatally injured by a drunken driver in March of 1998.  Callie McCraw was a vibrant young woman who loved to be around people.  She worked tirelessly on the technical crew at the Parkside Playhouse and enjoyed every moment of her time with the Vicksburg Theater Guild.  She was a student at Vicksburg High School and was a Cadet Lieutanant in the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JRTOC) program there.  She loved and was loved.  She was 16.

The morning of March 16, 1998 started out like many others.  It was a Monday, the first day back to school after spring break.  Callie’s boyfriend had brought breakfast over, which they enjoyed at the kitchen table.  He left shortly before Callie, headed to class at Warren Central.  Callie kissed her mom (I was on my way home from my job in Jackson) and left for school. Exactly one half mile from our door Callie met Lisa Sanders when Sanders’ car left her lane and hit Callie’s head-on.  Callie was rushed to Baptist Hospital and treated for massive head trauma.  She fought hard for seven days.  The seventh day, Monday, March 23rd, is when I met Kevin Stump for the first time.  The doctors called us into the ICU consultation room to tell us that Callie would never be coming home, would never be waking up.  She was brain-dead.  He allowed us time to collect ourselves and then introduced us to Kevin, who hates being called “Mr. Stump” because it sounds like you are talking to his dad. Kevin explained the process of organ donation with great eloquence and grace.  He dutifully answered our questions and concerns.  He was a great source of comfort to us at our family’s darkest hour.  Later, I would think, “How can he do that… talking to families at THAT time.”  It is a special gift that Kevin (and many others on his staff) has and one I am truly thankful for. Kevin left the room and allowed us time to discuss the decision, which seemed like it took forever but actually was made within minutes.  We called him back to the room before he’d even finished his coffee to inform him that he had a daunting task in front of him – matching our daughter to people on the transplant list. The doctors assembled their team and on Tuesday morning, March 24, 1998, the life support machines were powered down and our daughter slipped into the arms of the Lord. Callie – a very healthy sixteen year-old – was able to donate her heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, corneas and lots of bone, skin, blood and muscle tissue. We got the chance to meet Fred, who got her heart and Freddie, who got her liver.  We got to hear Callie’s heart beating within Fred’s chest.  What an amazing blessing.  Sam related the story of how he never liked chocolate in his “first life,” but when he woke up after the transplant, he craved chocolate.  He blamed Callie and we think he was right.  We also got the chance to meet the family of Kevin Crowe, the young man who got Callie’s lungs. Kevin suffered from Cystic Fibrosis.  Callie’s lungs were such a special gift to him.  He had been so sick for so long, he succumbed to pneumonia one month and one day after recieving his gift.  During that time, though, he chased after his sister for the very first time ever.  “He smiled like he had never smiled before,” said his mom.  “He was so thankful for his gift.  His immune system was just decimated from the years of treatment for his disease.” We exchanged letters and e-mails with two ladies – one who got one of her kidneys and one who got her corneas.  They were so thankful.  The lady who got her corneas (Mildred) had lost her sight at the age of 40 and had never been able to see her grandchildren. I can tell you that I have been blessed to meet these people.  I was blessed to have Callie in my life and now she is blessing me and all the people who were given the “Gift of Life.” from her sacrifice. I will encourage you to become an organ donor.  Talk about it with your friends and family, and let them know abour how important it is for them to hold to your wishes.  And lastly, and most importantly… if you are ever faced with the difficult decision as to whether or not to donate the organs of your loved one, who did not make the decision for themselves…. SAY YES!!!]]]]> ]]>

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