BOISE -- April is National Donate Life Month. KTVB is partnering with Yes Idaho to raise awareness about organ, eye and tissue donation.
Throughout the month, we're going to tell stories about people affected by organ donation. For some, it's a story of silver linings in the face of great loss. For others, it's about a second chance at life.
For Megan Moore it's about two twists of fate. One gave her almost unbearable heartache. The other gave her an outlet for her pain and a way to make a real difference.
"I remember standing up on stage, and I was like, you know, I don't really know if this is for me," said Moore about competing in the Miss Treasure Valley Pageant.
But life can be full of surprises.
"And then they announced my name, and I was like, oh my gosh. Huge mind change," said Moore.
In March of 2014 Moore was crowned Miss Treasure Valley. A big surprise to her because she didn't even enter the pageant until about a week earlier, and only at the urging of the manager of a business where she was applying for a job.
"I had like seven days to get everything together," said Moore. "And everything just kind of fell into place."
Part of her reluctance to enter the pageant was the lack of a platform... a cause.
"And after talking with my mom, she was like, 'honey, you could do organ donation,' said Moore. "And so I spread his story and he was kind of the whole center of everything that I did."
Moore is referring to her brother John.
"John was one of those brothers that I feel like every little sister kind of wished for," said Moore. "I always looked up to him. He was one of my role models. Whenever he wanted something he went for it."
John died the previous summer waiting for a liver transplant.
"I got the awful call when I was home alone at 2 a.m. that my brother had just passed away."
Life can be full of surprises; bad ones, too.
"They gave us seven years to get everything all figured out until he would have to have a transplant, and life had a different plan, and we were cut short six years," said Moore.
Then, nine months later, as Moore stood on stage with her new crown, she says the surprise victory suddenly felt right. "It just kind of hit me, and I was like, I think this is something that was meant to happen."
The title of Miss Treasure Valley gave her an outlet to spread her life-giving message. She volunteered with the Yes Idaho donate life coalition.
She told John's story to city councils, mayors and drivers education classes at different high schools, encouraging students to sign up as organ and tissue donors when getting their drivers licenses.
"Sometimes I don't think they realize what it means to be an organ donor," said Moore. "So when we go in and we're able to talk to them about it and they're able to ask us questions and when they hear a real life story, I feel like for them it puts it in a different perspective."
She continues to do it today. The Boise State senior communications major is working with the university's chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America on the Yes Idaho organ, eye and tissue donation awareness campaign this month.
Yes Idaho says nearly 120,000 people in the U.S. are waiting for organs. A single donor can save up to nine lives.
"And so when your time is done why not continue it on and be a hero even afterwards?," said Moore.
A sister's message of love to her older brother, selflessness to those who can be donors and hope for those waiting for a gift of life.
"He'd be proud of me. And with everything I do I always try to do it with him in my mind," said Moore. "And it sounds really silly, but with certain things I feel that they fall in place for a reason, and I feel that he has a helping hand in that."
And one final twist in this story. John was a donor himself. When he passed away he gave two people the gift of sight by donating his corneas.
If you would like more information on organ, eye and tissue donation, visit the Yes Idaho" website.
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