Sean LaPersonerie was a devoted son, brother, friend and soldier who served four months in Iraq as a heavy field artillery operator in the U.S. Army Third Infantry Division. On Jan. 7, 2012, just one year after he returned home, 24-year-old Sean passed away from extensive head injuries suffered from an auto accident. As a soldier, Sean made a difference in the lives of so many people. As a registered donor, his ultimate gifts of organ, tissue and corneas saved the lives of three people and helped countless others. His mother helped found "Sean's Gift," which provides hand-knit blankets of comfort and support for donor families.
Sean LaPersonerie was a devoted son, brother, friend and soldier who served four months in Iraq as a heavy field artillery operator in the U.S. Army Third Infantry Division. On Jan. 7, 2012, just one year after he returned from Iraq, 24-year-old Sean passed away from extensive head injuries suffered from an auto accident.
"Anyone who knew Sean would say he had a heart of gold and would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need, so it was no surprise that he registered to be an organ donor," said Sean's friend, Darla Jean Ballin.
While Sean was in the hospital, a lifelong friend tried to comfort Sean's mother, Marie with a hand-knit blanket to be placed on Sean until his organs were removed. The blanket was then presented to the family as a remembrance of their loved one's selfless gifts. The blanket became a connection between Sean and his mother that will forever serve as a reminder of the gifts he gave to her as a son, to the country as a soldier, and to others with the gifts of his liver, kidneys, eyes, tissue and spirit.
Soon after Sean's passing, Marie and her friends started "Sean's Gift," a non- profit program that offers blankets to organ donors' families as a source of comfort and support during the donation process. The blanket is knitted and donated by volunteers from the Care to Knit organization and are accompanied by a note: "May this blanket wrap you in warmth and love of the loved one you lost."
With Sean's Gift, donor families know that there are people who care about their loved ones and their gifts of life. As a soldier, Sean made a difference while he was alive. His ultimate gifts saved the lives of three people and helped many more.
"Being able to help others with the donation of my son's organs helped me through this tragedy. Knowing my son helped saves several lives has given me great comfort," said Marie.