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Because Matt Heisler Chose To Donate, 60 People May Benefit

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- A decision a young man made while renewing his driver's license may have been the most important thing he ever did.

Matt Heisler died Tuesday after several days on life support. The 21-year-old Lakeville native and UND student was in a Grand Forks home when it caught fire over the weekend.

He had indicated on his license that he would be willing to donate his organs. That is happening now.

On Wednesday afternoon at Hennepin County Medical Center, friends and family gathered around the flag pole as a flag was raised in honor of Heisler's decision.

His father, Jared Heisler, says it was something the two of them had discussed.

"He asked me what it meant when he got his license renewed," Heisler said. "I said 'It means if something happened to you that you would be able to help other people.'"

Matt Heisler's mother, Cheryl, said she woke up Tuesday night, thinking of the people her son's organs would help.

"I just started thinking: People are being called right now to come to their hospital that they may get a new liver or a new heart and it made me feel better," she said.

Jared Heisler added: "If someone had Matt's heart in them...that would make me feel really good."

The family said they are also thankful for their son's roommate, who pulled him from the fire.

"We got 3-4 more days with him," Cheryl Heisler said. "If he wouldn't have done that, we may have never seen him gain. So we think he's a hero to us, he gave us our son."

This is not the first loss for the family. Matt Heisler's sister died at age 4.

"Matt was 3 and they were best friends, and she was the boss of him and she's the boss of him again so it works out," Jared Heisler said.

Sixty people may benefit from Matt Heisler's donation, the family says.

Here are some links if you'd like to learn more about organ donation:


HCMC Transplant Program

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