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Ryan's Biological Legacy

And the blind shall see....

University Health Care

Moran Eye Center

Utah Lions Eye Bank


Ryan's Family,


I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your thoughtfulness of others at the time of your son's death.  I know this is a difficult time for you and all those who knew and loved him. 


The decision to consent for eye donation takes a great deal of courage.  It may give you comfort to know that because of his amazing gift, a woman age 41 has been forever changed with the gift of sight.  She was blind prior to Ryan's gift and will be forever grateful to a caring stranger and his loving family. 


On behalf of the Utah Lions Eye Bank, we sincerely thank your family for your support of donation.




Holly Shaw
Note by Becky:  It was in fact Sara who had the say as to Ryan's biological donations, and we all love her and appreciate her willingness and determination to see that Ryan's wishes were honored. 

Family Response to Transplant Recipient

(We are instructed to give only first names; transplant donors and recipients are discouraged from sharing identifying information.)


Dear Transplant Recipient,
When we received the letter from Moran Eye Center telling us about the gift that our son was able to give that allowed you to see, we were unbelievably moved.  I stood there with the letter in my hands bawling.  For me, it is a wonderful thing to know that part of our boy lives on to do great things for others. 
Our Ryan was so young.  He had twice been a transplant recipient.  In his case, he needed a heart at age 5 after a virus destroyed his own.  He received a second transplant at age 14 after the first began to fail.  When he was 23, his happy healthy life suddenly and unexpectedly changed.  He was placed again on a transplant list, but a few days later he told us he didn’t feel right about it, knowing there were others of his same body size and blood type also waiting for organs that are not plentiful enough to save all. Because he had received two transplants, he felt it was someone else’s turn.  He apologized profusely for breaking our hearts, but we gave him our support.  For his last wish he wanted to be taken outside of the hospital for one last look at the world.  In a wheelchair, and with a tower of meds attached and guided by two persons, he took a stroll with his family in the fresh morning air.  It was beautiful.  He looked around intently, his grateful blue eyes taking in every little thing.  At last he said he was ready to go back to his hospital room. His wishes were again confirmed, and his support medications were removed.  He died 4 days later.
Ryan was married to a wonderful, gentle, unselfish young woman who stayed determined to honor Ryan’s wishes to donate all that he possibly could for the living.  Thus, he was able to pass forward the amazing gift of life that he had twice received. 
Ryan loved music.  He wrote music, played guitar and sang.  He was deeply spiritual, but not in a stuffy way.  He had no children yet, but his nieces and nephews adored him.  He had a great sense of humor, even during his illness, which brought laughter at unexpected moments, and won the hearts of all who cared for him.
We all miss him so much that there just aren’t words to express our sorrow at having lost our only son and youngest child, but we count our blessings that we were able to have him for 23 years.  We are fortunate to have sweet daughters, including our beloved daughter-in-law, and darling grandchildren to fill our hearts and souls with love and gratitude. 
We hope the world you see through the eyes of one who loved life so dearly will bring you joy and happiness and continually astound you with its amazing beauty, from  glorious mountains, to breathtaking sunsets, to spring blossoms, autumn colors, and winter snow.  Most of all, we hope you find great joy in seeing the faces of your loved ones, and that you will think of Ryan when you do.  And remember that there is a family somewhere out there who will be thinking about you and wishing life’s best for you always.  
Ryan's Family


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