Mitchell Thomas Schloesser was a healthy, athletic, adventurous 29-year-old who loved life and would do anything to help his family, friends, and fellow man. He truly had a heart of gold. Mitchell loved to boogie board in the ocean, ski in the mountains, climb trees, and hike in the desert. He had a strong interest in music and could play the piano, trombone, guitar, and his favorite instrument, the drums.
On December 15, 2006, Mitchell went to sleep. At some time during the early morning hours, he stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest. Mitchell was put on life support, but he had been without oxygen for too long and never regained consciousness.
At the hospital, the Schloessers were approached by OneLegacy counselors who explained the donation process and how many lives might be saved if they were to make the decision to donate his organs.
“In a flash, I remembered when Mitchell got his driver’s license in 1993. He was so proud that he got his license. He was also excited about the ‘pink donor dot’ that came with it,” said his mother, Lori Thomas. “Mitchell proudly proclaimed his desire that ‘If anything ever happens to me, Mom I want to be a donor.’ I blew it off as youthful bliss. However, I never forgot that moment or what he said. Maybe it was God’s way of preparing me for my son’s legacy.
“The decision to let him go was the most horrendous, horrific, unexplainable pain I have ever had to endure. My feelings were so surreal. My son is lying in his hospital room brain dead, yet on the other side of the wall, OneLegacy team members were finding matches for my son’s organs. They found a perfect match for one of his kidneys. Shortly after that, they matched the second kidney, then his liver and then his precious heart. They each found their mates. I felt his life continuing on in the most profound, beautiful, helpful, loving way.”
A few months later, Lori received a letter from OneLegacy notifying her of Mitchell’s donations and the lives he helped save. One kidney went to a man in Connecticut, one kidney to a woman in Florida, his liver to a woman in Arizona, and his heart to a woman in Hawaii.
“Wow! My adventurous son was everywhere. The desert, ocean, mountains, snow – all the things he loved,” declared Lori, who has become a Donate Life Ambassador and speaks to groups about organ donation.
“Since then, we have been fortunate to receive letters from three of his recipients. But the most moving experience of all was having the honor of meeting one of his kidney recipients at the 2008 Transplant Games. Mitchell’s life has been transformed, and he lives on in the hearts of his loved ones and in the most profound way through his organ recipients.”