Watch CBS News

Teen's Tragic Death Brought Hope To Three Medical Patients

(CBS) -- Jermaine Cullum Jr. died from a heart attack at just 16, but a year later he lives on.

Three people whose lives were saved by harvesting organs from the teen met with the donor's parents Thursday for the first time.  It was a bittersweet moment.

"I can't express how grateful I am," says Celia Fabre, a mother who could attend her daughter's graduation, thanks to the donation of Jermaine's liver. "He gave me the second chance to be with my family and to be with everybody here."

Jermaine lives on in Tarik Causay, too, a young father who had been dying from diabetes complications until the gift of Jermaine's pancreas.

Organ Recipients Thank Donor's Family

Karen Emerich couldn't take a step outside without an oxygen tank, but she's once again breathing easy, surrounded by family, with both of Jermaine's lungs.

"It's been an amazing transformation from where I had been to where I am today," she says.

Jermaine was too young to consent to organ donation when he collapsed playing basketball, but his parents knew that was his wish. So, in their hour of loss, they helped him give others something to live for.

"I had about a 20-minute hug with each one of them," Jermaine's mother, Tracia Patton, said. "His spirit was all around us just hugging all of us. He was a very spiritual person."

"I felt like it was a connection," the teen's father, Jermaine Cullum Sr., said.

Jermaine's family donated his organs through the organization Gift of Hope. A spokesman calls the story "amazing."


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.