Organ donation

Getting a second chance at life

Organ recipients thank family of man who saved their lives

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In May 2013, Cody Crosby lost his life in a car accident that happened just off Wadsworth Boulevard and I-70. But thanks to the efforts of Arvada Police and emergency responders, Crosby helped save other lives through organ donation.

“I believe, 100 percent, that Cody lives on in these people,” said Diane Eckert, a Lakewood resident and Crosby’s sister. “The fact that he gets to be a hero would make his day.”

Not all donor recipients ever have a chance to meet their donor or donor family, but since April is National Donate Life Month, Donor Alliance, an organization that supports organ and tissue donation, thought it was only fitting that Eckert and Crosby’s parents had the chance to meet the emergency responders and Wes Cook, of Parker, and Julie Kautz, of Aurora. Both of whom received Crosby’s organs.

“I was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer, and I didn’t have long left,” Cook said. “The moment I heard there was an opportunity to meet the Crosbys, I wanted to do it.”

The meeting happened at Arvada’s Police Department headquarters on April 11, and featured some laughs, more tears and a lot of hugs.

“Because of the work of everyone here, I was able to see my first grandbaby born,” Kautz said. “I wanted to show them there was some good that came from this.”

Arvada police officer Derek Berns witnessed the accident on his way home after a shift and pulled over to help in any way he could.

“My training just kicked in, and I called 911 and rendered what aid I could,” he said. “As police, you see tragic events a lot, but its good to hear something positive came from it.”

Because of the efforts of police and other responders, Crosby’s family had the opportunity to say goodbye to their son and brother, and get a small sense of closure.

“The people here today represent just a small part of the team that works so hard for the community,” said David Snelling, a detective with the department. “It’s a tough situation for everyone, but this means so much to us, because we rarely get to see that good can come out of these situations.”

In addition to the kidney and liver that Cook and Kautz received, Crosby’s other kidney and heart valves were also donated. Both Crosby and Eckert were big supporters of organ donation, and Eckert has become only more since her brother’s death.

“The police and responders have such a special place in my family’s lives and heart,” she said. “I’ll never forget my brother’s goofy grin, but he’d be so proud to know he saved others’ lives.”

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