Chad, a vibrant soul with a zest for life, left a mark on those who knew him. “He was a very happy person,” Linda fondly recalls. “He loved to have fun, joking and wrestling around.”

Tragically, Chad’s journey came to an end in January 2017 due to a car accident. Through her sorrow, Linda found peace in the opportunity to honor Chad’s memory through organ donation. Linda shares, “Chad would do anything he could to help somebody.” Chad’s selflessness manifested in his decision to register as an eye, organ, and tissue donor, a choice that would impact countless lives.

For Linda, Chad’s donation brought awareness and understanding. “I signed my driver’s license every time, knowing it was the right thing to do,” she says. “But I didn’t fully comprehend the extent of donation until Chad’s passing.” Through Midwest Transplant Network, Linda discovered the ripple effect of donation, extending far beyond organs to include tissues, bones, and corneas. “I had no idea that you could donate corneas or tissue,” she said. “It’s been eye-opening to learn how donation can touch so many lives.”

Chad’s legacy of giving continues to shine through an annual wiffleball tournament, a fitting tribute to his cherished childhood memories. Linda shares, “In September 2016, he was here with one of his kids and a couple of the other grandkids, and they were all outside playing wiffleball, and he said to me, ‘Mom, you know that this is my fondest memory growing up.’” Linda began to wonder what she could do to honor Chad and his legacy. “I didn’t want to do like the normal 5K because he didn’t run. I wanted it to be about him and came up with a wiffleball tournament.” What began as a small gathering with about eight teams on one field has blossomed into an annual community-wide event with 24 teams spread across four fields.

As Linda navigates grief and healing, she finds comfort in connecting with recipients of Chad’s gifts. From an elderly woman regaining mobility to a hiker conquering new heights, each story reaffirms the impact of eye, organ, and tissue donation.

In honoring Chad’s legacy, Linda embraces a message of resilience and hope. “His story is one of triumph and tragedy,” she reflects. “I choose to focus on the positive, carrying forward his spirit of giving with every letter, every conversation, and every act of kindness.” As Linda and her family continue to honor Chad’s memory, they invite others to join them on the journey of donation. “Chad gave 100% of what he could give,” Linda emphasizes. “His legacy lives on in the lives he touched, inspiring us all to embrace the gift of giving.” In commemorating Chad’s spirit of generosity, Linda reminds us that even in moments of loss, love endures, and the legacy of giving transcends time.