Michael Doherty, Jr. was a caring and outgoing person whose main passions included motocross racing, his yellow GTO, and his baby brother Matthew. When Michael was 15, his family had a discussion about organ donation during which Michael voiced his support. Just three years later, in October 2009, Michael was a passenger in a fatal car accident. His parents knew they were following Michael's wishes when they donated his organs, tissue and corneas. His family is comforted knowing that Michael's love of life and his spirit of helping and giving lives on in others.
Michael Doherty, Jr. was a caring, thoughtful and outgoing person. He was most passionate about motocross racing on the weekends and his yellow GTO. Whether he was cleaning it, driving it or just standing and admiring it, his GTO always put a big smile on his face. He also loved spending time with Matthew, his younger brother by nine years. Michael adored his baby brother from the moment he was born and was proud that he chose his name.
"One evening when Michael was 15, the four of us were talking about life and various other subjects," recalled Michael's mother Lisa. "During our conversation, Michael asked us what organ donation was. We explained that there are many people in need of kidneys, hearts and other organs and that a person can give permission for doctors to remove his organs and tissue after he has died to help these people. Michael liked this idea. The concepts of good will and giving back were a big part of Michael's life. He asked us, 'Why wouldn't you donate your organs? You don't need them anymore, but others do.' I am glad we talked about this. Little did we know that this conversation would have significance three years later."
On October 9, 2009, Michael, a senior in high school, turned 18. A couple of weeks later, on Sunday, October 25, Michael was a passenger in his friend's car as they were returning home from visiting another friend. "I happened to be outside getting the mail when all of a sudden I heard an extremely loud bang and a crashing sound. My heart dropped because somehow I knew it was my son," said Lisa. "When I realized that this was true, all that followed became one huge disastrous blur."
Michael had a temporary driver license, but had planned to register as an organ donor when he got his permanent license. After conferring with their pastor and doctor, Michael's parents knew he would have wanted to donate his organs and tissue, including his corneas. "We have received tremendous support from the New England Organ Bank. They have provided us with an Aftercare Program which has been helpful in getting us through this difficult time," noted Lisa.
In June 2010, his father, Michael Sr., walked across the stage and received Michael's graduation diploma; a five-minute standing ovation followed. The Dohertys have since planted a tree in their community in Michael's name and are comforted knowing that Michael's love of life and his spirit of helping and giving lives on.