Donor Family Stories

Austin Rice

Cory and Kendra Rice of Menominee, Mich. have many special memories of their 3-year-old son Austin. One way they’ve honored his memory is by creating a quilt out of his clothing.

“I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of his clothes. It was too hard,” says Kendra. So she enlisted the help of a friend and created a quilt using Austin’s T-shirts and jeans, as well as photos of her little boy. The family brought the quilt to an event to share with other donor families.

Another way the family commemorated Austin—who drowned in May of 2008—was through tissue donation. The Rice family consented to donate his eyes and heart valves because “we felt it was a good thing to do,” says Kendra. “It would help other people.”

The donation was a good fit with Austin’s love of being a helper, and his love for his family, especially his older brothers. “He loved everybody, really,” she says. “He was a very happy, vibrant child, very happy-go-lucky. Nothing bothered him.” She describes Austin as a “character” who liked candy and wearing his Superman shirt.

Kendra says the family’s decision to donate was rooted in their faith. “We believe in serving other people, the feeling of spirit,” she says. “It was through that feeling that we decided it was right for us.”