Families Linked by Organ Donation Meet for First Time

NIXA, Mo. -- An organ donor family and a transplant recipient celebrate life together, for the very first time.

In many ways, it felt just like a family reunion, with all the emotions of people who haven't seen each other in a long time. But the two families never met before.

Dave and Andee Coble lost their son Gage more than a month ago. Now, they find some comfort knowing his life meant a new beginning for another family.

"Being able to see them, touch them, hug them, just like completed that circle," explains Andee.

"It's kind of an extension of some other things that you're dealing with in losing our son, but it's also very happy. It gives you something to hold onto," says Dave.

His parents say Gage will always be remembered for his infectious smile and love for life.

"Making sure you're grabbing onto those moments because you just never know. We didn't know that was our last day with Gage, we didn't have enough time with him," Andee Coble stresses.

And now, thanks to organ donation, his life can continue in the lives of eight others like Eric Parr.

Parr received Gage's kidney and he tells KOLR10, "I walked in and lost it. I couldn't believe I was actually meeting my donor's mother for the first time and the dad, that was very overwhelming."

Parr is thriving today, but just a short time ago, he was fighting for his life and in need of a kidney transplant.

"It's an amazing feeling. I wake up everyday and instead of saying I can't do this, I say what am I going to do today and I have a really renewed  sense of purpose."

Eric's daughter is young but understands her dad got a second chance.

"She asked me are you not on dialysis anymore and she's 8. I said, 'no baby, Daddy's going to live a very long time and you have nothing to worry about anymore.'"

But it comes at the price of a young man's life.

Cindy Tucker is Eric's fiance and she tells KOLR10," You realize that we're not here forever and you need to spend more time with them."

"I'm overwhelmed with emotion and how someone could be so selfless in the moment that they're son's passing and wanting to give me a gift of life," explains Parr.

And while gage may not be here, parts of him are still very much alive.

"You have to make everyday count, you have to make every waking moment count."

This donation will connect two families forever.

"He's apart of us now and that's a story that will never change, literally," explains Cindy.

"I feel like it solidifies our relationship with them and now we will just hopefully go forward and be friends with them for life," says Andee,

The Cobles are now using their son's death as a platform to encourage other people to become organ donors.

The Nixa Band Boosters has a Go Fund Me page set up in honor of Gage. Click Here if you wish to donate


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