From birth, Kimberly Kimble Gast was a survivor. Born prematurely in New Mexico, Kim fought to live. Despite difficulties at home, she cheered everyone she met. She filled a room with her smile and laughter.
After her freshman year of high school, Kim’s mother unexpectedly went into a coma after surgery and died. Kim was disappointed that her mother could not be an organ donor and said that she wanted to donate her organs if the situation ever arose. No one knew that two months later, she would do exactly that.
In her sophomore year, Kim became captain of her high school cheerleading team. After cheering for a Friday night game, 15-year-old Kim and four others from church traveled to a youth retreat. As she rode, she studied Spanish and sent text messages. At 12:36 a.m. on September 20, 2003, the messages stopped. A drunk driver had crashed into their van after traveling three miles the wrong way on the freeway in northern Santa Barbara County.
The driver of Kim’s vehicle, a tough football player, lost his spleen and lower leg that night. His father and another student were injured. The impact smashed the driver’s seat into Kim’s head. Rescue workers kept her heart beating. Hospital staff treated her, but her swelling brain failed to function. Friends from church and school streamed through her room to say goodbye.
“After the test for brain death, nurse from OneLegacy compassionately worked with us,” said her legal guardian Mike Murrie. “We knew what Kim wanted – to be a survivor even in death.
“The people who received Kim’s heart, liver and kidneys eventually became dear friends and are doing well years later. They and their families are the most grateful people I know, and it’s a privilege to see them survive after receiving Kim’s gifts. How many people who lose loved ones have the privilege of seeing them go on living in others?”