Currently, there are more than 120,000 people on the national organ transplant list who are awaiting donation. Each day, more than 20 people on that list die from lack of available organs. For the surviving family members of a North Carolina man who lost his life, however, it comes as some comfort to them to know their loss may mean the gift of life for up to 75 people.
Fox 10 in Phoenix reports that Lee Dingle, 37, a father of six, was having fun with his children on Friday, July 19th, playing in the surf near their home. While enjoying fun in the sun, a strong wave struck Dingle in such a way and with such force that it broke his neck. Dingle’s broken neck caused swelling in his throat, cutting off oxygen to his brain. His official cause of death was a lack of oxygen to his brain.
Always a generous and caring man, Lee Dingle was a registered organ and tissue donor. Tom Caldwell, founder and senior partner of Atlas Engineering where Dingle worked said that Dingle was always thinking about other people. .”His sort doesn’t come along very often, and we’re going to miss him terribly. A fine, fine, fine man,” Caldwell told USA Today.
A spokesperson for Carolina Donor Services, Chuck Heald, told Fox News that every time someone consents to become an organ donor, it could affect the lives of many people. Dingle will, in Heald’s words, “…live on as a hero to those people whose lives are forever changed by his organs and tissues.”
The outpouring of love and support from the community and around the world has poured in. A GoFundMe page that was set up for Dingle’s wife, Shannon and their six children has raised over $3000,000.
Shannon Dingle sent out a message on Twitter saying that the organ donation was what Lee would have wanted. She also advised others considering donating their organs, to let their loved ones know of their plans.