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Heroes of a Different Kind
Story by Mark Gravel


Although this story does not contain athletes or competitive feats played out on chalked field of green, it does contain heroes.

Not the fake type of heroes created on a silver screen. Real heroes that save real lives.

It does not replace Daryl, but it is rewarding to do something good and that's what it is all about.

Specifically, a family of grieving heroes that in 1993 still found the strength to help others in need. Alvis and Jerill Arnold lived with their two children, Cherie and Daryl, in Monroe, Louisiana.

This story starts with a single, simple, and unselfish choice after the sudden death of their son Daryl. As a family, they had never really discussed the option of organ and tissue donation prior to this event. Alvis said that the only time he remembers talking about donation was when Daryl was getting his driver's license. Just like most families, they never thought this would be a decision they would have to make for their family.

Alvis felt that the option of organ donation helped restore a feeling of control at a time when they sorely needed it.

Since Daryl's death, both Alvis and Jerill have become actively involved in promoting donation in their home state, serving as strong advocates for donor families and attending donation awareness events. At one such event, entirely by chance, they met their son's liver recipient. The family and the liver recipient quickly became close friends. Jerrill and the recipient have become as close as sisters.

Alvis stated that the meeting helped the liver recipient deal with certain issues she had related to the fact that it was only through someone else's death that she was able to live. Although meeting this recipient turned out very well for the Arnolds, they respect the decision of those who don't want to meet.

In the end, Alvis said his family's involvement with donation helped them through the loss of his son. It does not replace Daryl, but "it is rewarding to do something good and that's what it is all about." It seems the Arnolds have found a way to create life after death.

Listen to it
Listen to our audio recording of the donor recognition ceremonies.

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