Shelby's gifts

By Tim Cooper

April 11, 2016

Guest Blogger Tim Cooper

His comments on April 6 to kick off the Lifeline of Ohio Torch Run for Life to bring awareness to organ and tissue donation and the Transplant Games in Cleveland in June . The torch run started at the Foundation and concluded at OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital. Pictured are Dorrie Dils, chief clinical officer for Lifeline of Ohio, Tim, Scott and Tammy Cooper. 

Webster’s dictionary defines philanthropy as goodwill to fellow members of the human race, an act or gift, done or made for humanitarian purposes, or an organization distributing or supported by funds set aside for humanitarian purposes.

Good afternoon.  I’m Tim Cooper and today we are honoring our daughter Shelby and her Gift of Life. We are also recognizing our partners at The Richland County Foundation, because their philanthropic efforts have helped keep her memory and dreams alive.

Shelby was an energetic and outgoing 16-year-old.  She was involved in volleyball, basketball, track, 4-H, Future Farmers of America, National Honors Society, and her youth group at church.  She showed pigs and lambs at the county fair with her brother.  Shelby always had fun, no matter what she was doing.

Our lives changed forever on October 21, 2004. Shelby was in a single-car accident and died from a brain injury. Our family, friends and the entire small community where we lived was devastated.  Her calling hours were a testimony to how many people she touched in her short life.  Of course, our dreams for her were shattered that day too.  There would be no proms, graduation, college, marriage, and she wouldn’t be having our grandchildren.  The sadness we felt took us to our knees for quite some time. But the support from our loved ones, community, and our faith in God has helped us get back up on our feet.

Six months before her accident, Shelby was excited to tell us that she registered as an organ donor when she received her first driver’s license. After Shelby passed, and organ donation was presented to us, we were proud to honor her wishes to become an organ, eye and tissue donor. With her gifts of life, she was able to save the lives of three people who were waiting for a life-saving transplant.

It was Shelby’s goal to attend college and become a pediatric oncology nurse. To honor that goal, we established a scholarship at Lucas High School to help others realize their dreams. With the help and support of The Richland County Foundation, this scholarship will continue for many years to come as well as allowing us to support other charitable endeavors.

Tammy, Scott and I are excited to be here to celebrate the upcoming Transplant Games of America and to spread awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation.  Our family has been to The Transplant Games in the past. We have had the opportunity to meet transplant recipients from all over the United States.  Because of this, we have seen firsthand the impact that our daughter has made through her gift of organ donation.

It is meaningful for our family to begin the torch run here at The Richland County Foundation - the very place that has helped us keep our daughter’s legacy alive. We will pass the torch to a kidney recipient along the route as a symbol, of the life that Shelby gave to others.  

We thank you and look forward to honoring Shelby today. 


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