Joseph Templeton was best friends with his mother, Robin, and he was not afraid to let the world know it. While some kids might be embarrassed that their mother worked in the high school cafeteria, Joe would hug Robin in the middle of the school day. When he was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2007, Joe made a pact with Robin to call her whenever he thought he was about to have a seizure. On December 30, 2007, Joe called his mother at 9:45 a.m.
“Fortunately, I had not gone to church that morning, like I usually do, because I wouldn’t have gotten his call,” said Robin. “We were on the phone for 10 minutes when I heard the phone drop and Joe passed out.” Twenty-two-year old Joe was pronounced dead two days later.
Joe had discussed his decision to be an organ donor with his mother several months before he died. It came as no surprise to Robin and the rest of Joe’s family because he always tried to help others. Joe’s initial decision to register to be an organ donor, at the age of 15, helped save and heal the lives of seven people.
“Joe could light up a room with his boisterous laughter, his great big bear hugs and his constant smile,” said Robin. “Not to mention that he stood strong beside his life motto, ‘One Love,’ which was adopted from a Bob Marley song.”
Since Joe’s death, Robin has become an advocate and works to educate the public about the need for, and the benefits of, organ and tissue donation. She is currently teaming with Donor Alliance and the American Transplant Foundation to spearhead the creation of an organ and tissue donation license plate. Colorado’s Donate Life license plate will be available for purchase on January 1, 2010 – the two-year anniversary of Joe’s death.