Jogger killed on Katy Trail saves lives by donating organs

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by GARY REAVES

WFAA

Posted on October 4, 2010 at 5:20 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 6 at 12:12 AM

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DALLAS — In every picture, family members say Lauren Huddleston always had a smile. She was the girl who put others first.

"She had a way to always make it about somebody else and not about her," said Charles Townsend, her brother.

Huddleston was jogging on the Katy Trail last Thursday when she was struck by a bicycle. She died Sunday night at Baylor University Medical Center.

Her family was spared the painful decision about whether to donate her organs, because this summer — shortly after her own grandmother died — Huddleston made the choice herself.

All her family had to do was grant what turned out to be her final wish. So even when the tragedy on the Katy Trail cut her life short, Lauren Huddleston continued to give.

"Lauren made it known to all of her family members that should something ever happen to her, it was her wish to have her organs donated," Townsend said.

Once it became clear she could not be saved, Huddleston's family agreed to turn off the machines that were keeping her alive. They then donated her liver, two kidneys, two corneas, her heart valves, skin, and other tissues. As a result, several lives will be saved and many more will be improved.

"It helped give purpose and understanding to the tragedy," Townsend said.

And if there was any doubt, it ended with this comment from "Blessed 78" on the DallasNews.com Web site:

"My father-in-law is in the hospital as we speak getting a second chance at life thanks to her willingness to donate her organs ... she is a hero to our family."

"I cried when I read that, but it made me feel proud when I read that this morning," Townsend said.

Huddleston's brother doesn't know for sure if "Blessed 78" really got Lauren's liver; in fact, he kind of hopes he didn't, because that would mean two lives were saved Sunday night.

"While I am sad, I'm very proud of her, and that means a lot," he said.

Huddleston was an accountant who graduated from Highland Park High School and the University of Texas.

Family members said she often went on mission trips sponsored by her church, First Methodist in downtown Dallas. That's where they will hold her memorial service, Thursday afternoon at one o'clock.

The City of Dallas plans to take a closer look at the design of the Katy Trail to determine whether any safety changes need to be made to one of the city's most popular hiking, biking and jogging paths.

E-mail greaves@wfaa.com

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