Giving Father’s Last Act of Kindness
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney had a very giving dad who instilled in Levar and his siblings values they hold dear today.
“He taught us that we have to think about a life that’s bigger than just us, how we treat others, that we needed to be servants to others,” remembers Mayor Stoney.
That’s why it wasn’t a total surprise that Levar learned his dad Luther Stoney was a registered donor when he died unexpectedly in 2011. His dad’s loss was a terrible blow to the family, but his father’s last act of compassion in donating his eye tissue was comforting to Levar.
“I always think there’s somebody out there walking around who I may have locked eyes with that could be the beneficiary of my father’s commitment. It just made me feel there was some good that came out of something that was so sad and so shocking to us,” Mayor Stoney shares.
It was also comforting that his father was treated with dignity.
“From the time my father closed his eyes to the time we buried him, he was treated with full respect. We were obviously a grieving family. There was no pressure ever put on us about donating, but since it was his choice, we wanted to fulfill that commitment and that promise that he made,” says Mayor Stoney.
“And we feel enriched by the whole experience because we know that we helped someone else out who may have been in some need. It’s sort of how he raised us. He raised us to give back. And I think even upon his death, there was a final gift and that was the donation of his eye tissue.”
“The act itself could be the last act of generosity, the last act of love, by a loved one. I knew the type of person my father was, and to be able to still help someone when you’re no longer here on earth leaves a lasting mark,” adds Mayor Stoney.
August is National Multiethnic Donor Awareness Month. Nearly 60% of those waiting for a transplant are from multicultural communities. Transplants can be successful regardless of the ethnicity of the donor and recipient. However, the chance of longer-term survival may be greater if the donor and recipient are closely matched in terms of their shared genetic background. You can register your decision to become a donor by going here.