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'He's my hero': During National Donate Life Month, Colorado mother shares her son's story

Connor Adcock helped 53 people through tissue donation following his death.
'He's my hero': During National Donate Life Month, Colorado mother shares her son's story
Posted at 12:51 PM, Apr 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-22 14:51:02-04

DENVER — April is National Donate Life Month — a chance to honor and remember those who gave the ultimate gift, while raising awareness about organ and tissue donation.

Kristen Adcock lost her middle son, Connor, in October of 2017. Connor would be turning 26 years old this year.

“Very funny, sharp, dry, witty sense of humor," Kristen said about Connor. “He was very smart and very dedicated. A really, really hard worker graduated high school with a 4.3 GPA. I can't even fathom.”

Kristen said Connor took his own life — and was a registered organ and tissue donor.

“Sometimes, it really just feels like it was yesterday, and sometimes it feels like it's been an eternity. It's hard to believe it's been that long... One moment it seems like everything is fine, and the next moment your whole life and world is just completely turned upside down," Kristen explained.

Through tissue donation, Connor helped 53 people he never met. Kristen said that sentiment has helped her healing, since she knows his story did not end on the day he died.

Around six months after Connor passed away, Kristen started volunteering with Donor Alliance. Soon after, she began working with Donor Alliance as a donation consultant.

"I felt like this organization gave me so much in my life and helped heal me so much, that I just had an incredible desire to give back to them and be able to help them and help other people achieve what I did," Kristen said. "I feel like, you know, he [Connor] is by my side all of the time and encouraging me and what I do and the work that I do here.”

Around 1,300 people in the Colorado and Wyoming service area are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant, according to Donor Alliance.

Colorado is one of the most generous organ and tissue donation states in the country, frequently surpassing the national average of individuals who opt to become a donor, Donor Alliance reports. Data from Donor Alliance shows that last year, more than 300 donors in the Colorado and Wyoming area gave over 900 lifesaving organ transplants. Nearly 1,700 tissue donors gave an estimated 100,000 tissue grafts.

"One person can save up to eight lives through organ donation and save and heal up to 75 lives through tissue donation," Heather Burke, a spokesperson for Donor Alliance, said.

In honor of National Donate Life Month, Donor Alliance has created a Spotify playlist where individuals can add songs that remind them of their loved ones who were donors. Kristen added the song "My Hero" by the Foo Fighters — which was one of Connor's favorite songs. He used to always tell her how the song was about ordinary people who were heroes in their own right.

“It's about your ordinary people who can become a hero, and what greater hero than saving a life through organ and tissue donation," Kristen said. “He is my personal hero, because he chose to do that at the very end. That was his last, last act."

Individuals can become donors by selecting the "yes" option when renewing or obtaining a driver license.

During National Donate Life Month, Colorado mother shares her son's story