Beth Colon received the letter in November. She tried to read it but was crying a river of tears before finishing the second sentence.
“I am the recipient of the precious gift from your loved one…You have my deepest sympathy for the loss of your loved one and greatest thanks for a second chance at life.”
It was from an anonymous 37-year-old recipient of one of her son’s kidneys:
“It takes a remarkable group of individuals that can make an unselfish decision during their grief and think of restoring life into someone else. I will never be able to thank you enough for giving me a second chance at life, but I vow that I will cherish every moment and carpe diem (seize the day).”
Beth Colon’s son, Jared, is a Hillsborough teen who died last July after a punch to the head…The teen who threw the punch is being charged with second-degree reckless manslaughter.
The kidney recipient wrote…that he has six children and was living a painful life: too weak to participate in family activities, attend his children’s recreational activities or stay awake to hear about their day.
“Now I have an opportunity to run with my baby girl, who will turn two years old in a couple of months,” he wrote. “My boys can’t wait to challenge me in a game of basketball…My fiancé and kids say thank you for giving them hope. We all agree that your loved one is our angel and blessing.”
As soon as doctors told Beth that Jared’s situation was “hopeless,” she donated his organs to the New Jersey Sharing Network…She has been informed of six lives that Jared has already saved, all residents of New Jersey. Another kidney went to a man in his 30s. Four of his heart valves were transplanted into pediatric patients…
“I’m so happy to hear (Jared’s kidney) stayed in New Jersey,” says Beth. “I don’t know why — I guess it makes me feel Jared is still here.”
The recent holiday season, her first without Jared, was particularly difficult. She said the Compassionate Friends support network, which consists of parents who have lost their children, helps her cope. “It’s very healing for me to be with people who understand my pain,” Beth said.
“I really do believe in organ donation. I remember at Jared’s funeral a women leaned over and whispered to me that she lost her 26-year-old son and she wishes so bad that she would’ve donated his organs. That made me feel so much better. It brings me a sense of peace knowing he has helped other lives.”
“With all my heart, I wish you peace, love and faith knowing that this young man has restored life in me,” the letter closed. “I will not take that for granted.”
The letter is signed: “A grateful recipient.”
Beth Colon has started an online memorial fund for Jared through the Princeton Area Community Foundation.