Shelby Ann Cooper was a fun-loving, outgoing 16-year-old involved in sports, 4-H, National Honor Society, and her church youth group. On Oct. 21, 2004, Shelby was in a single car accident and died from a brain injury. Her calling hours were a testimony to how many people she touched in her short life. Her family has corresponded with the recipients of Shelby's kidneys, pancreas and liver; they have met her kidney and pancreas recipient, who got married on her first transplant anniversary. "It is comforting to know Shelby saved three lives," said her mother Tammy. The Coopers established a scholarship in Shelby's memory at their local school and host a golf outing each June to support the fund.
Shelby Ann Cooper was an energetic, fun-loving, outgoing 16-year-old. She was involved in volleyball, basketball, track, 4-H, Future Farmers of America, National Honor Society, her friends and her youth group at church. Shelby and her brother Scott also showed pigs and lambs at the county fair.
On Oct. 21, 2004, Shelby was in a single-car accident and died from a brain injury. Her calling hours were a testimony to how many people she touched in her short life. "The sadness we felt took us to our knees for quite some time," said her father, Tim. "The support from our loved ones, community, and our faith in God has helped us get back up on our feet.
"When Shelby earned her driver's license, she was so excited to tell us that she was an organ donor. We were not registered organ donors at the time and did not know a lot about organ donation. However, we wanted to fulfill her wish."
Shelby donated her two kidneys, liver and pancreas. With the help of Lifeline of Ohio, the Coopers corresponded with her recipients, and met her kidney and pancreas recipient, Kelli, who had been diabetic since the age of three. On the day that Kelli had received the call that a pancreas and kidney were available, she had been so sick she didn't think she would make it through the night. Kelli married one year later on her transplant anniversary.
"It is comforting to know Shelby saved three lives," said Shelby's mother Tammy. "She gave Debbie, from Texas, her other kidney, and Art, from northern Ohio, her liver. All of them have expressed how humble they felt and that they were thankful to hear from us. We wanted them to know how happy we were that Shelby lived on in them."
The Coopers established a scholarship in Shelby's memory at their local school, and they host a golf outing around her birthday each June to support the fund. Her picture is proudly displayed on Lifeline of Ohio's "Shine On" quilt that they hang at the outing.
"This year was her 24th birthday and 125 people sang happy birthday to Shelby," said Tammy. "Shelby has taken us on an amazing journey because she selflessly gave of herself through the gift of life."