TikTok brings together families of organ donor, recipient
PHOENIX - Two Valley families are now bonded forever through an organ donation. Social media brought them together with a viral TikTok video.
There are millions of views of a heartwarming video documenting the last moments of life for one Phoenix man, but it took just one special comment to show his impact.
Jim Tucker, 55, saved the life of a man who lived 30 minutes away from him.
His wife, Kelley, talks about what led up to his untimely, but life-saving death.
"His segway just stopped abruptly and kind of threw him forward. Honestly, he hit kind of the side of his face. He was a little disoriented so I called 911 thinking he had a concussion," his wife said.
During summer vacation in San Diego, Tucker went into cardiac arrest after the segway accident. No oxygen to his brain for 20 minutes became more than a concussion.
"I knew right then, when I looked in his eyes, that he was gone," she said.
But she always knew he was a registered organ donor, and luckily, his liver was viable.
"I'm just gonna miss having a dad," his daughter Nicole Warne said. She flew out to be by her dad's side.
Dozens of doctors and nurses gathered for his honor walk, a final goodbye. "When you're walking with your dad for the last time, you don't really see all the people that are there," she said.
Two months later, Warne decided to make a TikTok video in memory of her dad. It's become viral with more than four million views.
"It really just showed how important organ donation was because thousands of people were saying how they were affected by organ donation," Warne explained.
Organ donation has changed the lives of people like Jeff Scanlon.
"It was either going to be a transplant or a funeral. That's how sick he was," said his wife, Barb Scanlon.
He got a second chance at life, thanks to Jim.
"I said, 'What are the chances? This can't be.' So I sent her a comment on the TikTok that my husband was a transplant recipient on the 31st of July," Scanlon said.
The connection between the two families began. They say the transplant date matched and Jim's blood type was confirmed.
Scanlon is now home getting healthier every day, grateful for a man who lived 30 miles away.
Here are some key statistics on organ donation:
- 109,000 people are on the National Transplant Waiting List
- More than 1,600 are in Arizona waiting for a lifesaving transplant, and 86% of those Arizonans need a kidney
You can register to be an organ donor through the Motor Vehicle Division, or through donatelifeaz.org.