Tonight we feature a Missouri State University graduate from a Grain Valley, Missouri, whose life was cut short. But he made a decision back in March to help give others a chance at a longer life.
Jeff Ottolini was a young man who loved life and lived it to the fullest. He was born and raised outside of Kansas City, Mo.
Ottolini was a graduate of Missouri State University.
While in school, he became the treasurer of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.
He was a brother and a friend to many.
"Great person," says Josh Michaelvierle, a fraternity brother. "Always full of excitement just a good guy to be around."
Jeff's future was bright. He was pursuing a career in graphic design and illustration. He was also engaged to be married. He was a son and a brother.
"We had a good times when he was growing up," says Jeff's dad, Jeffery Ottolini. "I love all my boys and Jeff was our first and very special."
Jeff's dreams and goals came to a tragic end.
He died recently, after an accidental fall.
His parents got the dreaded call.
While at the hospital, his family learned Jeff had signed his driver's license. He wanted to be an organ donor.
His loved ones and brothers at Kappa Sigma held a candlelight vigil in his memory on the campus.
The vibrant presence presence that once graced his brotherhood is missed.
Jeff was only 24 years old, but he gave the gift of a lifetime. He gave hope to complete strangers. He transformed lives.
Jeff's lungs went to a 56-year-old woman.
His liver went to a 70-year-old man.
A 64-year-old woman and a 63-year-old man received his kidney's.
His heart went to a 53-year-old man.
"I was very proud of him and you think about the recipients and who is going to benefit from Jeff and I think about those particular recipients and if he saved their lives and made their lives better and then all the people that those people will touch and will be able to continue to touch while they are here. I think the hands will go a long way," says Jeff's mother, Barbara Ottolini.
His legacy lives on. His fraternity brothers looked up to him, admired him. Now they are proud of him.
"Oh yeah definitely. He saved five people's lives..." Michaelvierle says. "He's a hero, for sure."
Jeff received the gift of life medal. It will soon be displayed on campus.
As for his family, they hope one day to meet the recipients of Jeff's gifts.
"Sure. I would love to meet those people," says Jeff's father. "I'd like to meet the guy who got the heart."
Jeff's is not done giving. He'll help more people because there's also tissue donations.
His family would like to encourage others to be organ donors.
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