A mother's tragic loss becomes a story of lifesaving transplants - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

A mother's tragic loss becomes a story of lifesaving transplants

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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) -

A mother's tragic loss becomes a story of lifesaving transplants.

About a year and a half ago, Rhonda Rozelle's life forever changed.

Her son, Zachary, died of an opioid overdose, but that's not how she wanted his story to end.

"Out of the loss of my son, I wanted something good to come out of it," said Rozelle.

Zachary’s remembered as Appleton Medical Center's first heart donor.

On Monday morning, there was a flag-raising in honor of Zachary’s gift.

"They said he was a hero here, so it means a lot," said Rozelle.

At 10:08 A.M. the donate life flag was raised, representing the eight lives one donor can save.

As the flag waved, a minute and 14 second moment of silence took place, representing the 114 thousand patients waiting for a lifesaving transplant.

"We feel strongly about pursuing organ donation, not only as extending our ability to extend the gift of life,” Dr. Laurin Kellg, Critical Care Doctor at ThedaCare said. “But it is often very meaningful for families to see the gifts of loved ones were not able to make it."

Zachary impacted three lives giving his heart and two kidneys.

"Gives me comfort, makes me, um, to know that his organs are living on through other people," said Rozelle.

And hoping this story motivates others to register to become organ donors.

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