Evin Joel Shoap was a loving and caring young man who tried to live life to the fullest. An avid reader, he also loved photography, cooking and swimming. As a heart transplant recipient at age 15, he was passionate about organ and tissue donation. Evin was enrolled in the Masters of Teaching program at James Madison University when he died in March 2007 and became a cornea donor. It is a testament to him that his friends still gather each year to remember him, and many participate on Team Evin in the annual Race to Donate Life 5K.
Evin Joel Shoap was a loving and caring young man. He was an avid reader and loved photography, cooking and swimming, and he was passionate about organ and tissue donation.
When he was eight months old, Evin was diagnosed with heart problems. His body responded well to medication and a low-fat diet until he hit puberty at age 11. In April 1999, 15-year-old Evin received a new heart. "The transplant gave him a sense of maturity well beyond his years," said his mother Carla.
The only team sport he could participate in was swimming; just three months after his transplant, he took lifeguard training. Later, he worked as a lifeguard and swim coach. As part of the Washington Regional Transplant Community (WRTC) Friends for Life Volunteer Group, he spoke about his transplantation experience and the need for donation.
While a student at James Madison University (JMU), he mentored other students, served as lead photographer for the school paper "The Breeze," and started a chapter of Students for Organ and Tissue Donation. He graduated with a BA in 2006 and remained at JMU in the Masters of Teaching program. "Although he never realized his dream of being an English teacher in the classroom, he left an indelible impact on the lives of his family, friends and teachers," added Carla.
"Evin taught us what friendship, love and courage were all about," she affirmed. "Friends shared that Evin said he did everything he wanted to do except skydive. It is a testament to him that his friends still gather each year to remember him, and many participate on Team Evin in WRTC's Race to Donate Life 5K.
"When Evin died at age 23, we received the call about organ and tissue. Evin knew that this was something he would want to do. Evin lives on in our memories, those of his family and friends and the cornea recipients whose lives he touched."
Carla's daughter-in-law or Evin's sister-in-law, Toni Shoap, was so inspired after attending the U.S. Transplant Games, that she donated her kidney to a stranger. The donation took place on Evin's birthday.