Dalton Lawyer was a swimmer, basketball player, adored brother and wonderful son. On July 30, 2009, eight-year-old Dalton rode his bike down the driveway and was instantly hit by a truck. He was declared brain dead five days later. Dalton's life ended, while four other lives were saved, including a five-year-old girl from Boston, Avery Toole, who received his heart. "Through Dalton's donation and God's amazing grace, our family also received a gift: an extended family, the Tooles," said his mother. The two families met almost one year after Dalton and Avery's lives merged. Three years later they still visit and talk often.
Dalton Lawyer was a swimmer, basketball player, best friend, adored brother, and wonderful son. He was always smiling and had a full, hearty laugh. He was the idol of his younger triplet brothers, whom Dalton called "his babies."
July 30, 2009 was a typical summer day, and Dalton was being a typical eight-year-old kid. He wanted to watch his cousin, Sarah, at cheerleading practice; after all, he loved girls, and girls loved him. Dalton hopped on his bike, and as he rode down the driveway, he was instantly hit by a truck coming down the street.
Dalton was life-flighted to the hospital. Although there was barely a scratch on his little body, he had suffered a massive brain injury. Five days later he was declared brain dead.
"My husband and I are both in medicine and therefore had some insight into organ donation from our work as doctor and nurse," said Dalton's mother Jeri. "We both know how important organ donation is. It was never a question whether we would donate once we knew Dalton would not survive."
As Dalton's life ended on Aug. 5, 2009, four other lives were saved. Dalton's kidneys went to a grandmother in Ohio and a 30-year-old schoolteacher. A child in Boston received his liver, stomach, and pancreas, and a five-year-old girl, Avery Toole, also from Boston, received his heart.
"Through Dalton's donation and God's amazing grace, our family also received a gift: an extended family, the Tooles," said Jeri. "We received a letter from the Tooles on Thanksgiving following Dalton's death. We exchanged emails and phone calls, then met on Martha's Vineyard almost one year after Dalton and Avery's lives merged. There was a bizarre connection somehow, to people we have never met. We were more comfortable with each other than with some of our own relatives. Three years later we still visit and talk often.
"Although we hoped and prayed for the gift of Dalton's recovery, his organ donation was a precious gift for both of our families. Dalton will always be in our hearts, and his heart lives on in the Tooles."