Thomas Tiffany Varney V was nicknamed “Moose” from birth. Moose loved many things: his family, spending time with friends, his dogs, baseball, hunting, farming, Husker football and souping up his pickup for racing in the Sandhills Open Road Challenge Race (SORC). He attended the University of Wyoming in Laramie and was a pre-mortuary major.
On New Year’s Eve 2005, after suffering a gunshot wound to the head at the hands of an armed assailant, 21-year-old Moose was pronounced brain dead. His parents, Barb and Tiff, thought back to when Moose came home with his first driver’s license. He had told them that he had decided to register as an organ donor by choosing “yes” on his driver’s license. After pausing to reflect, Tiff said, “We’re donating anything. Anything you can recover, recover it.”
On January 1, 2006, Moose saved five lives. Recipients were found for his heart, liver, pancreas and kidneys. In addition, Moose gave the gift of sight to two individuals who received his corneas; many others are benefiting from life-enhancing tissue transplants because of his donation of bones and tendons.
Someday, the Varneys hope to meet the recipients of Moose’s organs. “This is one of the major things that helped us,” Barb shared. “This is something tangible to hang on to.”
Tiff added, “Do it – sign up to be an organ donor. There’s no reason not to help someone else improve their quality of life.”