In January 2008, Brittany Nicole Cail was very proud to receive a driver's license in her newly adopted home state of Louisiana. Brittany told her mother Raquel that she had registered as an organ donor and wanted her eyes, her favorite feature, to be donated. Three months later, Brittany was in a severe car accident and died five days later. Four of Brittany's organs saved three lives, and her gifts of bone, skin and corneas helped people in need from at least ten states. Raquel carries on Brittany's legacy as a volunteer in the Los Angeles area, where Brittany graduated from high school.
The summer after Brittany Nicole Cail graduated from Torrance High School in June 2007, she decided to go to New Orleans to visit her grandparents. She ended up loving it there, so she decided to call New Orleans home. Brittany found a job in food service at the local hospital and working there.
The following January, during a visit by her mother Raquel, Brittany shared how proud she was that she had just received her driver's license. Brittany told her mom she was an organ donor and if something ever happened she wanted her eyes to be donated because they were her favorite feature. "I acknowledged Brittany, but didn't want to talk about the subject in detail," said Raquel, who three months later would be faced with that hypothetical situation becoming reality.
In April 2008, at the young age of 19, Brittany was in a severe car accident which left her in a coma. Five days later, after complications from a blood clot, Brittany was determined to be brain dead. Her mother remembered the conversation she had with Brittany earlier in the year, so she supported Brittany's wishes to donate.
Four of Brittany's organs saved three lives. Her right kidney was received by Erica, who was on the transplant waiting list for over seven years and is doing very well. Brittany's liver was given to a woman named Kimberly, and her left kidney and pancreas were given to Joseph, a husband and father of one.
Brittany's gifts of bone, skin and heart valves have helped individuals throughout the country to heal from injuries, burns and heart defects. Those who benefited from her donations hail from California, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington D.C. Brittany's corneas were donated to the Louisiana State University Eye Center for research on macular degeneration.
Recently, Raquel became a Donate Life Ambassador and spends much of her time volunteering with her local organ recovery organization, OneLegacy, and sharing Brittany's story to encourage others to become registered donors.
Brittany's decision to be an organ donor has made a remarkable and widespread impact on the lives of many. Her mother hopes to carry on the legacy by being Brittany's voice and making sure everyone she meets knows how important it is to make the choice to be a donor.