LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) – A tragic car accident killed 16 year old Lacey Broussard in 2007, but her legacy still live son in the lives she's saved. Organ donation became a light at the end of the tunnel for her family.
As paramedics swept Lacey from the scene of the accident she still had a heart beat, but once at the hospital, her grandfather Larry Broussard says the doctors pronounced Lacey brain dead. Lacey's grandmother, Robbie Morgan, felt that heart beat months after her death.
"I don't know if I can do this," Morgan said to Laura Tinnel, the recipient of Lacey's heart, "can I touch your chest and she just came up and let me feel Lacey's heart and that meant so much...it really did"
Larry Broussard knows his granddaughter is still out there.
"Her organs were spread all over the United States and other lives were affected by her death," said Broussard.
Lacey saved Laura Tinnel's life with a new heart and Lacey's other grandmother, Sherrie Broussard, says it was just in her nature to help others.
"We did not know [that she was an organ donor] until her death but it wasn't surprising because she was just that type of person, she was just a giver," said Broussard.
Lacey made the decision to donate only a few weeks before the accident.
"She was 16 when she got her license and I can remember he father says Lacey do you know what this means and she said yes I do and they carried out her wish," said Debbie Lacassin, Hospital Resource Coordinator for the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency.
Lacassin urges families to talk about their decision to donate today, so if an accident happens, they are prepared.
"108,000 people registered nationally just waiting and in Louisiana 1 person dies every 3 days [waiting]," explained Lacassin.
Louisiana does rank number 1 with 64 percent registered to donate their organs.
"People in Louisiana given a chance to help someone will," said Lacassin.
Lacey's family wants her to be remembered as a great baseball player, a peacekeeper among friends and family and a tomboy who always wore her pearls. Lacey would have been 19 years old now.
For more information on organ donation you can visit the LOPA web site at www.lopa.org