Organ Donor's Sister's Special Wedding

6:12 AM, Mar 29, 2006   |    comments
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Seattle, WA -- Kris Kime's organs were donated to five recipients. Kris' sister, Kirsten Kime, is getting married this weekend, several of those recipients are on the guest list. The Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman says Kris was killed when Seattle's Mardi Gras party five years ago degenerated into a series of ugly brawls. At one point, a young woman was hit, kicked and dragged into the fray. Kris tried to help her; for his efforts, he was savagely beaten. "When I was in the hospital," Kris' mother, Kim Kime-Parks, told Kauffman in February 2002, "and I saw Kris, I thought, 'You know, there's nothing they can do for Kris, but something good has to come out of this.'" She approved the donation of Kris' organs. His heart, kidneys, pancreas and lungs went to others. Larry Levenson, who got Kris' heart, said simply, "Breathe, " when asked what he could do with Kris' heart in him that he couldn't do before. Martha French, who received Kris' pancreas, said, "It's like, 'Wham!' You know? I have a pancreas that works. And I'm not diabetic anymore. Just like that." The recipients told Kauffman at the time Kris is alive in them, and Kim agreed. "Oh, you bet! It's incredible. I'm so proud of Kris." On The Early Show Tuesday, Kim told co-anchor Harry Smith that knowing Kris' organs are helping other people has "absolutely" been part of her healing process: "Sometimes I feel like it's been a blessing in disguise. These people have meant so much to us, and know that our son's life continues to go on." Kirsten Kime told Smith she invited the recipients to her wedding because "they're family." They "absolutely" feel like family to her, and she "definitely, definitely" feels that Kris lives on in them. "I'm just so grateful that they're around and we can go through experiences with them," Kirsten says. "I couldn't even try to think about how it would be without having them around and being able just to talk to them and know that it really made a difference to them." Kim says it was "obvious" that the recipients should be asked to attend: "They're part of our family. They have been part of our family now for five years." Ray Page, who got one of Kris' kidneys, is among those invited, and says it's "awesome, great" to have that chance. "Now we just have to figure out how to get there!" he said to Smith with a chuckle. In a country where, according to , 90,000 people are on the organ donation list and 18 die every day waiting for organs, Kim says her family "hopes people make the decision to donate organs. It has been a blessing to us."

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