CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Good things can come from bad things, a thought worth remembering on this day of thanks.
Two people in the Charlotte area are holding that close today. A visiting NFL player who died here 11 months ago lives on in them.
On Dec. 16, 2009, authorities were called to Oakdale Road in Charlotte. Chris Henry, 26, a Cincinnati Bengals receiver, had fallen from the bed of a pickup driven by his fiancee, Loleini Tonga, during a domestic dispute.
Gravely injured, Henry was rushed to Carolinas Medical Center.
Authorities reached his mother, Carolyn Glaspy, in Cincinnati. She caught a flight for Charlotte. She got to the hospital about 10:30 p.m.
By then, Henry was unconscious and in neurological decline.
"I didn't know it would be my last time seeing my baby. That was one of the hardest days of my life I'll ever have," she says.
Friends and family sat with Henry throughout the night. Around dawn, a test showed he'd lost all neurological function. At 6:36 a.m. Dec. 17, he was pronounced dead.
Matthew Kinney is a family support coordinator for LifeShare Of The Carolinas, a Charlotte-based organ-procurement organization. He had been involved in the case since Henry was brought to the hospital.
Around 7:30 a.m., he gathered Glaspy, Tonga and other close family members. He talked about making arrangements to release the body and other administrative matters.
"There's another bit of information I need to share with you," he told them.
Kinney said that because Henry was young and athletic, his organs could save others. But Henry had never registered for organ donation. It would be up to his next of kin.
Kinney knows there are 109,000 people awaiting transplants in the United States. More than 3,000 are in North Carolina, about 1,000 in South Carolina.
"While someone may die today, it means another one might not," says Kinney.
Read more: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/11/25/1864919/life-follows-from-death-bringing.html#ixzz16Ju6dmwm