CBSN

Teen organ donor touches dozens of lives

When Amy Souders of Easton, Pennsylvania, lost her teenage son, Cody, she was determined that her family's tragedy would not be in vain.

Cody was an 18-year-old college freshman with a love of music and a promising future. "When he would smile, I don't know, you just felt engulfed by Cody," his mother recalls.

cody-souders-organ-donor-teen.png
Cody Souders

In October 2013, she discovered him in the basement of their home after Cody accidentally overdosed on prescription pills. He spent five days on life support and was finally declared brain dead. When doctors determined there was no hope of recovery, his family honored Cody's wish to become an organ donor.

"If there's a person that gets even another day with their child or their dad because of Cody's organs, it was well worth it to us, because we would do anything to get another day with him," she told CBS News' Marlie Hall.

His donations benefitted more than 50 people in all. His heart, liver, and both kidneys provided life-saving transplants. His corneas restored sight, his skin helped burn victims, and dozens of other tissues and body parts including bones, tendons, valves and veins assisted patients in need.

"It's an amazing thing and the best thing is it works. People's lives are saved," said Howard Nathan, CEO of the Gift of Life, an organization which helped coordinate the multiple transplants.

For Cody's heartbroken family, it helped give his loss meaning and allowed their healing to begin.

"I like the idea that he's still living on today in other people," said his brother Justin.

"People take everything for granted, they have no idea how precious every moment is," added his 15-year-old sister Hannah.

Every year since Cody's death, the Souders family takes part in a 3K run and walk called the "Donor Dash" to raise money and awareness for organ donation.

Cody's story, Part 2: Teen organ donor's family meets man whose life he saved