Scott Dudley's Story
Kathy Dudley wants to meet her sons recipients. She has met the liver recipient
and she would like to meet the others. Kathy is hopeful this story will inspire
the heart and kidney recipients to contact her also. You see, KathyDudley lost
her son Scottie in February of 1997. He wanted to be an organ donor if anything
ever happened to him. He came home one day with his first Virginia drivers
license. On the license was the word "Donor" . "If anything ever happens to me,
he said, I want my organs to go to someone else." His family was hesitant and
unsure about organ donation. But wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me tell
this story from the beginning.
In December of 1996, the Dudley home caught on fire. The owner had stored linseed oil in the basement. This oil dried out and spontaneously burst into flames. A letter received from the Lynchburg Fire Department continues the story. "Sixteen year old Scott Dudley had been watching television in the down stairs den, when the house started filling up with smoke. This young man went up stairs to awaken his two sisters, Kimberly 12 years old and Michelle, 10 years old. Kimberly was able to make her way down stairs and outside on her own. Michelle had become frightened and would not move on her own, so Scott picked up Michelle and carried her down the stairs through the smoke outside to safety. There is not question that this young man saved the lives of his two sisters and should be recognized for his actions. Had Scott not carried out the actions described above, the outcome of this fire would have been tragic."
The American Red Cross intended to award Scottie a Certificate of Valor for his heroic actions. The award, however, had to be given posthumously because Scottie died before the presentation could be made. Just six days after the house fire, the family lost their grandfather. That was on December 20, 1996. They struggled to recover from two tragedies in just 6 days, hopeful that better times were ahead. But who could know or predict that just 57 days after the death of their grandfather, Scottie Dudley would die while cleaning his grandfathers pistol. The family thought the pistol had been thrown away after the fire. Scottie had apparently recovered the pistol and was attempting to clean it when it went off, firing a bullet into his brain. The family is not sure exactly what happened. His father found Scottie and thinking he was asleep, attempted to awaken him. Then he discovered the gunshot wound and called for an ambulance. They called Kathy at work to tell her the tragic news. Scottie was declared brain dead the next day. February 15, 1997. He was a junior at Heritage High School. His classmates honored him with a Certificate of Special Recognition, a flagpole and plaque on the athletic field. Scottie was very close to making the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts and his Scoutmaster wrote: "Whether it be gathering firewood for the Wood Ministry on Federal Street, collecting non-perishable food for the Lynchburg Area Food Bank, helping fellow scouts to carry their packs or cook their meals, God has never had a greater servant here on earth than Scottie Dudley.
A nurse called the family and asked if they would like to donate their sons organs. At first they were against the idea. But they remembered Scotties drivers license. They decided to honor their sons wishes and so both corneas, a heart, liver, pancreas and two kidneys were donated. The family received this letter from VOPA: "a 33 year old male from Falls Church, Va. and a 26 year old male from Richmond both have restored vision thanks to your gift. A forty-nine year old man from Virginia received Scotties heart. This gentleman is married with one child and works as the president of an office company. Scottie's liver was transplanted into a 54 year old from West Virginia. Scottie's right kidney was received by a 38 year old, married thoroughbred horse trainer who had obstructive nephropathy/glomeruonephritis causing kidney failure. The left kidney and pancreas were received by a 44 year old salesman in Virginia with severe diabetes mellitus. He is married and has two daughters. All of the organs recovered were successfully transplanted and are currently functioning and all the recipients are doing well after transplant."
Kathy Dudley has written letters to all the recipients She has met only one. His name is Royal Miller, a 56 year old male currently living in Newmarket, Va. Mr. Miller, married with one son suffered with Hepatitis B and received Scotties liver. In his letter to Kathy, Mr. Miller wrote: "Rest assured that there is not a day that goes by that I haven't though about my donor, your son, and the great gift I received. As I told you before, I promise to take care of the gift, to nurture it and to never forget the person who cared enough for others to express his humanity in such a magnificent manner. Thank you."
Kathy gave Mr. Miller an album when they met. The album was filled with pictures and memorabilia of Scotties life. Mr. Miller wrote, "the album means more to me than you could possibly know. As I told you, after having met you, I knew a lot about your Scott. I understand why he put others ahead of himself. The answer lies in his family: his mother, his dad, his sisters, his aunt, his friends, his love of community and country as well as his love of his fellow man."
Mrs. Dudley has not met the other recipients, but would like to. Especially the heart recipient. She is hopeful this story will inspire them to write. So if you received a heart, kidney a kidney and pancreas or a cornea on or about 2/16/98 Kathy would like to hear from you. The gift of organ donation has, for Kathy, brought some meaning and closure to a devastating and otherwise meaningless death. For Kathy, it means her son's death has given life to another. And although she misses her son very much, it is gratifying to know that a part of him lives on. As Mr. Miller wrote in his letter to Kathy: "Regardless of what life has in store for me, a part of you will always be a part of me. Again, I promise you that I will take care of the beautiful gift that I have been given."
We, in the transplant community, commend Kathy and her family for honoring Scottie's wishes. We know it was not an easy decision. But it was a decision that gave sight to two and life to four. We sincerely hope the Dudley family will find comfort in knowing that their son has saved and improved the lives of several people. May Gods' blessings shine on all of you.