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Central Texas mother reflects on choosing to donate her son's organs after his death

Posted at 7:36 PM, Mar 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-30 20:37:02-04

GEORGETOWN, TX — Jacki James was in the hospital with her son after he died, faced with the impossible task of deciding what to do with his organs.

It was a decision that did not come easy, but today, she says choosing the gift of life is exactly what Peyton would have wanted.

Cuddling on the couch watching TV was where then 13-year-old Petyon first asked his mother about organ donations. Peyton, not really understanding what it was or how it worked, said he wanted to do that someday.

“I never imagined... I never imagined five months later how important that conversation was going to be,” said James.

On October 28, 2014, Peyton died by suicide after suffering from bullying at school.

Peyton has saved six lives with his organs and countess other with his skin and tissue. James says meeting the man who received Peyton's kidney was priceless.

“He walked into the restaurant, and he hugged me and he said, 'Can you feel him?' and it was just this beautiful moment," she said.

While not everyone gets to meet the recipients of their loved ones organs, organ donation can be a life saver.

“Organ donation is the greatest gift one person can give to another. Two percent of people die in a way so that they can donate their organs,” explained Michelle Segovia with Texas Organ Sharing Alliance.

The Donate Life Texas registry is the only official organ, eye and tissue donor registry for the Lone Star State.

Right now, 90% of U.S. adults support organ donation, but only 60% are signed up as donors.

Segovia says registering is a simple way to give others a second chance at life.

“The easiest way to do it is to go to to register your decision right now. It just takes a couple minutes. They register their decision, and that takes the burden off their family when that decision time comes," said Segovia.

The worst day of James' life was the best day for someone else. Still, the Central Texas mother knows her son lives on.

“You know, I'm just happy to know that if I don’t get to have him with me, those other people do. Of all the things in my life, I miss Peyton so much and I wish he were here, but knowing that parts of him still are makes it a little bit better. It gives me a little bit of peace," she said.

James says she still keeps in contact with some of the recipients who’ve received her sons organs. She is also a registered organ donor and encourages others to sign up as well.

To learn more about James' push for organ donation, click here.