Brennan Mitchell

Young Addict Signs Up for Organ Donation, Saves Five Lives

Brennan Rucker must have known the odds were not in his favor, so he went ahead and signed up for organ donation. Having struggled with depression and addiction for many years, he finally overdosed on heroin just before Christmas, 2015.

Now families in the Memphis area are thankful for his one final act of generosity. As reported by WMC ActionNews 5, his mother, Kristen Ballard said her son Brennan had a history of depression, leading to drug addiction. The 19-year old Germantown High School graduate died of a heroin overdose. “He knew that we struggled with him struggling,” said Kristen Ballard.

But Ballard had no idea her son had signed up to be an organ donor. His choice saved five lives. “His dash may not seem as long as most, but he did a lot more things than a lot of people I know,” said Ballard.

Stephenie Hamlet got his heart on Christmas day, two days after Brennan died.

“I got the call that they had a perfect match, and it was mine,” she said.

Stephanie had her transplant on Christmas Day, and was out of the hospital two weeks later. But months went by and she wanted to know who her donor was. Little did she know, the donor’s family had the same request.

“When you hear that you have your new heart, in my instance, I was like, ‘oh my God, someone had to die.’ I wonder who this person was,” Hamlet said.

The families finally met, and now have become friends. “Through Stephenie, I have the ability to still have my son,” Ballard said.

It is a second chance at life for Stephenie, now taking the opportunity to urge Mid-South women to make sure their heart health is a priority.

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To read more about how two families were brought together through tragedy and hope, please visit WMC ActionNews 5.

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