By daughter Carly
My family consists of my mom Sandy, my sister Stacy, her daughter Cady, and her husband Nick, a second sister Marcy, and myself, my husband Bob, and our daughter Kherington. My dad, Randy "R.O" Olson, was a caring, kind, thoughtful, and outgoing man. He cared about and loved his family and friends very much. Dad called or checked in on his mother every day and was always helping others. He enjoyed kids, and spending time with family and friends. Family was very important to him.
My Dad always knew someone no matter where we went, and if he didn't, he would meet someone and swap stories. He made an impression on many people. Dad enjoyed visiting with people and getting to know them. He enjoyed catering with my mom and friends, hunting, fishing, and loved Husker Football. He was active in our church and community and had a great voice -- I loved hearing my mom and him sing together. Dad enjoyed farming,4-H, attending his kids' sporting events, and spending time with his only granddaughter at the time, Cady. Dad had a great sense of humor. He was famous for calling people really early in the morning or popping by their house just to say hello. He was always supportive and encouraged me to try new things. He liked it when his 3 "darlins" spent time with him on the farm. We also enjoyed playing games as a family. He loved working and was fun to be around. Dad taught us many life lessons like always respect your elders, be friendly, and work hard at everything that you do.
My dad talked to me about organ donation once after a close family friend's daughter passed away. I think he had also talked to my mom about it. So when the time came and the organ donor representative asked us if we would consider donating dad's organs, we all looked at each and agreed, yes, we want to do this, he would want to do this. It is what dad would want. We figured that he was always helping others and took pride in doing it, so he would want to help others by giving them a second chance at life.
Recipients received my dad's lung, two kidneys, liver, and heart valves.
We had the opportunity to meet one of dad's kidney recipients, Becky. It was amazing, difficult, and surreal. I am so glad we got the opportunity to do so. We have also received letters and updates, some personalized and others through the organ donor network. We try to get an update every year on the recipients from the donor network. My Mom tries to keep in touch with the recipients; it is always amazing and heartwarming when we hear from one of Dad's organ recipients.
I am proud to say my dad was a donor, and he was able to give others a second chance at life. Knowing that part of him is living on, in a way, in others is comforting and as a daughter makes me very proud to have a chance to say my Dad was truly a "Hero" to many others and not just to me. I am glad that there are other kids that get to spend more time with their parent and others get the opportunity to spend more time with their loved ones, friends, and continue living their legacy. All of the individuals we have heard from are appreciative and glad to have a second chance at life. It is great to know that at least two of them wanted to know who my dad was and who our family is.
To honor our dad, we have a scholarship fund to help students with college expenses and church programs, such as church camp. We also host an annual golf tournament to raise money for the scholarship fund, raise donor awareness, encourage others to donate and we donate a portion to the organ donor network. It is also a time to reminisce about dad, socialize, and have fun together. Family and friends come together to speak and share our story whenever possible, with whoever desires to listen. Sharing his legacy, his gift, and our story is a way to honor my Dad and other organ donors and their families.
My advice to people thinking about organ donation is: Do it. Sign up on your state registry. One person can help so many people; helping even one person makes a difference. You can decide exactly what you would like to donate and help your family with the decision by talking about it. It gives people a second chance at life. Educate yourself on what organ donation is and how you can help. There are so many people out there waiting for a transplant, that if we make the decision to donate, it could help save so many lives. Donating gives life.
I would give anything to be able to spend more time with my Dad and have him back in our lives, but I am proud that my Dad was able to help others and they got a second chance because of him. I know in my heart that everything in life happens for a reason, and my Dad was meant to help others. My family has an extended family, part of our dad lives on.