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Accidental death helps others to live

The tragic death of a Yemassee teenager is bringing life to others, as his family members are celebrating how the lives of others across the country are being spared thanks to organ donation.
Jeremy O. Blewer was 19 years old last year when he accidentally shot and killed himself inside his bedroom.
The one-year anniversary of his death was on March 10th.
While still grieving their loss, Jeremy’s family members are able to smile knowing that his death has saved the lives of so many others.
“It was 10:30 on Saturday morning. I was working on my laptop when my husband came into the room and said ‘You need to call your mom. There has been an accident’ He looked stricken. I knew by the look on his face,” recalls Heather Sullivan, the aunt to Jeremy. Heather and her family live in Summerville. “I did not see that text originally, and then my husband came into my room where I was working and he was on the phone. He looked very concerned and he said to me, ‘You need to call your mom. There has been an accident.’ I knew by the look on his face this was not a car accident, where someone was going to be o.k. I knew this was going to be catastrophic.’”
Ultimately, Jeremy was flown to MUSC in Charleston. Soon after his arrival, he was pronounced brain dead.
Heather says the conversation about organ donation happened very quickly, while Jeremy was at MUSC. Mia, Jeremy’s mother recalled having conversations with Jeremy when he got his drivers license about him wanting to be an organ donor. Regardless, the family chose for his organs to be donated.
His heart went to a man in Pennsylvania, who has two children.
A 13-year-old girl in Tennessee got his liver.
A man in Florida got a double lung transplant.
The entire organ donation process was organized by the Sharing Hope SC, which organized the donors’ needs. Within the first month of Jeremy’s death, the family received a letter from Sharing Hope, telling them where each of his organs went. “You have so many people in need of life-saving organs … this has certainly given us some peace knowing he has helped people,” said Heather.
Recently, Heather did a fundraiser on Facebook for Sharing Hope in honor of Jeremy. “It was one small thing I could do, to take action and do something.” Since his passing, Heather says she and their family have learned that time is crucial in getting the organs to people who need them. “We are talking hours. His heart was transplanted into the man in Pennsylvania within six to eight hours after he was pronounced dead. That is mind blowing to me, the day he died that his heart was put on a helicopter. It had barely stopped beating before it was beating again. It is incredible to me.”
“Knowing he has helped other people to live has helped alleviate the pain of losing Jeremy,” she said. “Our lives were so changed by the tragedy, and the loss of Jeremy. But we knew that hope and many years were given to many more people. Life had been given to them. It cushions the blow a little.”
Jeremy’s parents, Mia and Jerry Blewer, along with his brother, Jared, take each day at a time. Their grief is still raw but sharing stories about Jeremy, his childhood, and life bring smiles to their faces, comfort and hope. Sharing the importance of being an organ donor to give hope to others has been so helpful in their healing.
“Knowing he has donated his organs to others in need has absolutely been comforting,” said Heather. “Losing Jeremy doesn’t mean that life just ended. It gave life to other people. It didn’t make the grief stop, it didn’t make everything ok. But it made our family so happy and proud to know that Jeremy did that for other people, in his death.”
Jeremy’s death was formally ruled a suicide by the Colleton County Coroner’s Office. However, the family said there was a witness to the shooting, and that witness and the family believes the gun going off was an accident. “Jeremy was getting ready to leave the house to meet friends for lunch when this happened. We believe whole-heartedly that this was a mistake,” said Heather.

Heather Walters (1487 Posts)