Paul Died and 69 People Received Help Because he Cared


In memory of Paul Harris.

In memory of Paul Harris.

Do you ever wonder what it’s like to receive organ, eye, or tissue donated by compassionate, loving people?

69 people in 16 states know what it was like to receive that gift of life after Paul Harris, a young 18-year old boy, died just one week after being involved in a single-car crash in Chesapeake, VA.

Cindy Harris works tirelessly to help others and honor Paul's life.

Cindy Harris works tirelessly to help others and honor Paul’s life.

Most of us can’t imagine the loss of a child. For Cindy and Chuck Harris, losing their only son, Paul, was a nightmare. But they have turned their grief into hope by tirelessly working to educate everyone on the importance and value of organ, eye, and tissue donation.

When you make the decision to donate organs, eye, and tissue, you are giving someone the hope of sight, or hope for a longer life and more time with their loved ones  — time that they may not have without your gift. It’s one of the most selfless ways of individual giving and it is truly a gift from the heart.

During Donate Life Month, it’s a good time to make a commitment to donate to others if you haven’t already.  The Code of Virginia states that family permission is not required when you have documented your decision to donate.

It is vitally important to share your decision to become a donor with your family.  This is important so they will know of your choice if the time ever comes and they are under emotional stress.  It is also important to check online at to verify that you “are” on the list because this is computer generated and monitored (and errors can occur!).

There are several ways to donate:

  • Check the Organ Donor box on your driver’s license (new or renewing) like Paul Harris did.  If, for any reason, you would like to change your information, you can modify or delete your record online. Tell your closest family or friends of your decision.
  • Register with
  • If a deceased loved one has not decided, a family member is asked to make the decision on his or her behalf. Make it easier for them by making your decision now.

According to DonateLifeVirginia’s website, hundreds of Virginians have organ, eye, or tissue transplants each year and receive a second chance at sight or life. Approximately three citizens in the Commonwealth die every week waiting for the gift of an organ that does not come. One tissue donor can enhance the lives of more than 50 people.

Donations cost the donor’s family nothing. All charges related to the donation process are billed to the recovery agency.

Consider being a donor and help save lives. Educate children when they are age-appropriate on how organ and tissue donation can help others live longer too.

Visit to learn more and to make your commitment official. You may save a life and like Paul, you will help dozens of people live longer, healthier lives.


Related Resources:

The Old Dominion Eye Bank

United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) – This is where the “list” of people waiting for organ transplants is kept for the entire United States.