A Maple Ridge mother made the difficult decision to donate her daughter’s organs after her death, and said she felt validation after learning her daughter was already a registered donor.
Tara Stroup said she was in the car with her husband, Dean, when she started looking through their mail and saw a letter from BC Transplant.
“We got that letter about a week after her passing,” said Tara. “I couldn’t read it out loud at first because I was crying… It said in the first line, ‘We are sorry for the death of your daughter Madeline’ — right then you know it was heart wrenching… five lives were saved and all in B.C.”
Madeline donated her heart, liver, both kidneys and islet cells from her pancreas.
“The whole process is not an easy one, but in my mind it’s so worth it now, because now we know that her organs are alive and they gave life to other people. What an amazing blessing,” said Tara, who is now a registered organ donor herself.
A single donor can save up to eight lives, according to Edward Ferre with BC Transplant.
Ferre said the organization does receive an uptick in donor registrations after a family shares their story publicly, but there are some common misconceptions.
“I think it’s important to know that every attempt will be made to save your life before organ donation will be considered and also there is no age limit to be an organ donor,” said Ferre.
A GoFundMe page was initially started to help with Madeline’s rehabilitation after she was involved in a motor vehicle accident in Abbotsford on July 26. Madeline, her boyfriend, Hayden Turcotte, and the couple’s friend, Tyrell Gait, were all travelling to the Stroup family cottage at the time of the crash. Gait is the lone survivor of the collision.
After Madeline succumbed to her injuries on Aug. 2 the family decided to use the funds raised to build a park in honour of the couple in Missezule Lake, just outside of Princeton near the family’s cottage.
“Our thoughts are it will bring us comfort if we walk by the park and hear kids laughing, and they deserve it,” said Tara.
Tara said she doesn’t know any information about the recipients of Madeline’s organs, but hopes in the coming months the family will get the opportunity to meet with them.
“To meet somebody and shake somebody’s hand that has Maddy’s heart beating in their body, it’ll be unbelievable,” said Tara.
Meanwhile the family is advocating the City of Abbotsford to construct a roundabout at the site of the crash on Marion and Wells Line Roads.