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Sharp Health News

Giving the gift of life: Chance’s story

April 25, 2018

Giving the gift of life: Chance’s story

Maureen Conlon with her sons, Chance (right) and Dusten, on Chance’s 18th birthday.

Maureen Conlon honors her son, Chance, in every way she can. From sharing photos and stories of the Cuyamaca College track star and Patrick Henry High School football and track athlete, to volunteering and educating others about the importance of organ donation. She says his presence still surrounds her.

Chance Fellers was eight houses from his own home in central San Diego on June 18, 2015, when he crashed his motorcycle into a parked truck. It happened the morning before his 19th birthday. Chance was nonresponsive when paramedics arrived.

After 45 minutes of CPR and other lifesaving attempts, Chance’s heart began to beat again when he arrived at Sharp Memorial Hospital. However, over the next few days, Chance’s family would learn how much damage his brain had suffered from oxygen deprivation. Doctors said Chance would never recover from his accident.

“While his broken femur could be repaired, his brain could not be,” Conlon says. “With deep-planted roots, I stayed by his side for the next five days, until he gave his gifts of life to others.”

Chance had registered to be a donor online, on his own at age 17, after he had received a California ID. Through organ donation, he gave the gift of life to five individuals. His liver was shared with two people — one section to a 3-year-old girl, and the other to a woman in her 50s. His pancreas and a kidney were given to a man in his 30s, his other kidney to a toddler boy, and his heart to a woman in her 30s.

Conlon says she feels a sense of gratitude for all of the hardworking nurses, doctors and caregivers who helped care for Chance as they tried to keep him alive — and also to Sharp Memorial’s transplantation services team for providing care and assistance to the family in the difficult days to follow.

Conlon honors Chance’s life each day, by continuing to breathe and invest in life, and by volunteering with Lifesharing, a nonprofit organ and tissue-recovery organization.

Conlon returned to Sharp Memorial with Lifesharing representatives last November to thank caregivers for the work, dedication and love they showed.

“While our lives shattered, others flourished,” Conlon says. “Chance’s life continues through those who love him, know him and those who live because of his gifts.”

Visit Sharp's transplant services or lifesharing.org for information about organ and tissue donation, or to register to be an organ donor.

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