Tragic death of Kentucky boy brings attention to subject of organ donation

Tragic death of Kentucky boy brings attention to subject of organ donation
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 2:04 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The tragic death of a young Kentucky boy has brought attention to the subject of organ donation.

The Fayette County Coroner’s Office says 8-year-old Eli Hill was killed in a freak accident Monday while playing basketball at his home in Corbin.

His parents say they made the decision to donate his organs in the hopes that he can save someone’s life.

“When your life has ceased to exist, don’t let that be the end of the story. Let your story continue through others,” said Shannon Adkins, philanthropy director at donate life Kentucky and donor mom. “Eli extended love and kindness by saying yes.”

Adkins heard about Eli’s tragic death, it brought her back to a moment etched on her mind forever.

“Once Keegan was declared brain dead, that he would be no longer, something hit me,” Adkins said.

Adkins’ 6-year-old son, Keegan, passed away nearly 12 years ago in a tragic accident.

Adkins says her family’s decision for Keegan to donate his organs saved the lives of four children and an adult.

“He was healthy and he needed to go on and give others that opportunity to have a chance at life,” said Adkins.

Adkins says this is why she works with Donate Life Kentucky now. she spends her days educating people about the importance of organ donation and squashing misconceptions.

“It saves the lives of the organ recipients, but what they don’t realize is that in some way it saved my life. It saves the donors’ families. It lessens the heartache a little,” said Adkins.

Eli Hill’s family tells WKYT that they’ll be so proud for the day someone gets their son’s “golden heart.”

Adkins says this decision is admirable.

“I want to thank them for having the courage to make that decision on behalf of Eli. If they could make the decision to say ‘yes’ anyone can,” Adkins said.

Adkins says, in Kentucky, there are more than 1,000 people who are in need of a life-saving transplant every day.

“Only 1% of people who die do so in a manner that they can be an organ donor,” said Adkins. “So, that lessens the opportunity even more for those on the transplant waiting list.”

Adkins says the decision her family and Eli’s family made, completed their sons’ missions.