Kiethen Taylor was a happy, outgoing and energetic seven-year-old. He smiled constantly and always seemed to be happy. He was always climbing and jumping off sofas, balconies – anything he could. He began climbing out of his baby bed when he was only six months old. He loved to dance and ride bicycles with his four older brothers: Thomas, Curlandrius, Christian and Theron.
As a second-grade student, he loved to read. His teacher said he was very smart. He had an unusual habit of reading and whistling at the same time.
Kiethen’s mom, Sharon recalled, “He was so responsible and independent for such a young person. He could cook noodles and hot dogs. He actually sorted and washed his own clothes – even washed the dishes. He always wanted to help.”
On September 16, 2008, the Taylor family had enjoyed a dinner with many of Kiethen’s favorite foods, including spaghetti, potato salad and chicken. They went to church, as they often did, and were on their way home when a tragic accident occurred. A woman had an epileptic seizure and blacked out. She rear-ended the Taylors’ car going 80 miles per hour while their car was at a standstill. Kiethen was in the back seat and was killed instantly.
In their darkest hour, his parents said “yes” to donation, and Kiethen became a hero at age seven by saving lives.
When the Taylors were asked about their decision, Sharon said, “Kiethen was always giving and helping people. He would frequently visit our neighbor who was physically challenged and try to help him. Even though he was young and small, one time he helped by painting a room for him. He always wanted to help. So we knew by giving the gift of life, Kiethen would be helping others in his death like he did in his short life.”
A ceremony was held last May at Kiethen’s school. His classmates planted a crepe myrtle tree in memory of their fellow student and to honor him for being an organ, tissue and eye donor and saving lives.
“It is said that kids who climb early in life usually do something important when they grow up. While Kiethen did not have the opportunity to do that, he will not be forgotten. His last climb was straight to heaven,” added Sharon. “I am at peace. Organ donation has helped me to better accept the loss of my son.”