Tammy Marie Goffin shared this remembrance:
October 15, 1996.
This is the day my daughter Nicolle Mae died and with the ceasing of her breath became a hero.
As a new nursing graduate I was familiar with the organ donation process, although I never thought it would apply to me! Things like this aren’t supposed to happen, children don’t die before their parents… or so I thought.
Nicolle was a lively, sweet, compassionate 5-year-old who loved big trees, her baby brother Josh, Barbies, her family, making crafts and dancing. The day before Nicolle died, we had so much fun raking up the fall leaves and putting them into pumpkin bags. She was wearing her purple silky dance jacket that she loved. I had to work the 3-11 shift that afternoon, I dropped Nicolle and Joshuah off at my friend’s house to babysit until their father could pick them up. Nicolle went outside to play on her swing set when she arrived at home, that’s when the accident happened. She became entrapped on the trapeze bar. Despite the best attempts at saving her young life, after 12 hours at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, Nicolle was declared brain dead.
Shortly after the devastating news, Unyts approached my family and me about the possibility of donating Nicolle’s organs. I knew the answer… a week prior to the accident, Nicky had been coloring and crafting, she had run up to me with a huge smile, arms outstretched and said Mommy! “HERE IS MY HEART!” “YOU CAN HAVE IT!” and handed me a huge red heart made out of construction paper.
I said yes, I held my baby girl one last time on my lap, sobbed and said goodbye for now. Her generous spirit saved others. It amazes me to this day. I can only hope her recipients are thriving with full and healthy lives.
This gift was of love from Nicolle.
Nicolle’s mom <3