Dallas teacher who died in wreck donates organs to save 13 lives

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by CARLA WADE

Bio | Email | Follow: @CarlaNWade

WFAA

Posted on June 5, 2013 at 5:23 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 6 at 7:26 PM

GRAND PRAIRIE –– A Dallas teacher died of her injuries after a weekend car crash, but this story isn’t about her death; It’s about life –– specifically, the 13 she helped save.

Forty-nine-year-old Brigitte Campbell learned to love the one thing she said she’d never do, according to her son Michael.

“She never thought she was going to be a teacher because her mother was a teacher in Houston. She said, ‘I don’t want to be a teacher,” said Michael Campbell, her son.

With the strength and poise that would make any mother proud, Michael Campbell spoke from his family’s home in Grand Prairie just days after her death.

While she initially didn’t want to be a teacher, the single mother of a 21-year old son and a 16-year-old daughter taught science to 5th graders at The Winston School in Dallas for the past seven years.

“But she loved it.” Campbell said. “She loved it there. She wouldn’t have gone anywhere else. She loved it.”

And by all accounts her students loved her too. The school’s principal, Dr. Polly Peterson, sent a letter to the staff and parents about her death earlier this week.

The career Campbell dedicated her life to ended when police say 21-year-old Chidozie Eze rear-ended her at red light at the intersection of Pioneer Parkway and Belt Line Road in Grand Prairie at 8 a.m. Saturday.  

The force of the crash pushed Campbell’s car into a concrete barrier. Police say Eze ran from the scene, but was arrested after a short standoff. He faces charges of evading arrest and manslaughter. 

Campbell died Monday afternoon at the hospital, but her son’s memory of a conversation about death would give even more meaning to a life cut short.

“She said, 'I want to be buried properly, but I want to donate my organs,'” Campbell said. “And I said, ‘why do you want to do that?’ She said, ‘I love science. I want to give back to people.’”

So, even in death, there’s a lesson about life, science and loving others.

“I’m so glad that she was able to help other families; children, adults, teenagers, seniors. That was her blessing. That was her chance to give back.” said  Campbell.

Through organ donation, Michael Campbell said his mother was able to save 13 lives.

Below is the letter sent home to parents of her school:

Dear Winston Community, 

I am heartbroken to inform you all that Brigitte Campbell has passed away from the injuries that she sustained in a car accident this past Saturday. 

Brigitte was a beloved member of the Winston Community for seven years. Throughout her time at Winston she touched all of our lives in so many different ways.  This past school year, Brigitte was assigned a 5th grade classroom. Without question, each and every fifth grade student's success was directly related to the dedication that she brought to teaching and the palpable kindness and compassion that she demonstrated each and every day.  Throughout her years at Winston every one of Brigitte's students shared a common knowledge, they all knew how very much she cared for each one of them as unique individuals and they felt the joy as she celebrated their learning successes.

Brigitte also ran Winston Science with more patience and understanding than one can imagine and she was always the first person to help in any and every way at school and life in general.  Her loss is devastating to our community and we join together at this time in support of Brigitte's family as they walk through their grief. She will be remembered as she lived, as a compassionate, caring, and loving mother, teacher and friend to many.

Please keep Brigitte and her family in your prayers as they move through this tragic loss. As service information becomes available I will forward the details.

In prayer,

Polly Peterson

Email cwade@wfaa.com

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