Dominic Hooper, Donor
Do It For Dom
Posted February 23, 2014
My name is Sara Hooper Snider, and I am a Donor Mom and Donate Life supporter. My son Dominic Hooper was 17 years old (4 months shy of 18) when he passed in February 2014. He was a senior in high school and was preparing for his graduation that May. I’d like to take a moment and share my son with you and a short glimpse of my journey with organ donation.
Dominic (Dom) was a member of the National Honor Society, Pep Club, Theater Club, GAS Club, A+ program, was a four-year honor roll student, and was in the top 10% of his class. He had already earned 15 credit hours of college classes while attending high school and was planning to attend a local college, studying to become an electrical engineer. Dominic was very active in sports and enjoyed playing football, basketball, baseball, dunk ball, disc golf, and weightlifting. Needless to say, our lives were very busy with sports and games. One of my favorite things to do was watching Dominic play sports, and I can say with 100% certainty that I truly was his #1 fan.
Dominic loved life and lived each day to the fullest.
He always went out of his way to make sure everyone he saw was happy and smiling. He had such an infectious, happy personality. Dominic never saw color, gender, or social status as a reason to not have that person in his life. He knew NO stranger and had a very special ability to make friends with everyone he met. It is absolutely amazing hearing the many stories from his friends and how he had touched their lives or, how he was that one shining hope that they needed in order to get through their day.
Dominic was a wonderful, caring young man and a very driven person with a great sense of humor. His compassion for others was astonishing and his kind, selfless, and generous heart was unending. Dominic has touched the lives of so many people from many different places and has continued to do so even after his untimely death.
Nineteen months ago, I knew very little about organ donation. I was not a registered donor, and I can’t really remember even hearing much about it. I was one of those people who thought I’d never be in a situation where I’d have to think about donation, but I was wrong. Nineteen months ago my son Dominic was in an accident. I remember every detail of those three long days at the hospital. I was faced with many difficult decisions. When I was approached about the possibility of organ donation, I tried to think of what my son would want. My family and I thought and prayed for an answer. Knowing Dominic, and the type of selfless person he was, we knew that he would have never hesitated to help someone in need. The decision, although extremely difficult, was one of the easiest things we had to answer.
Nineteen months ago my son Dominic became a hero to five individuals who were waiting for a transplant. Through organ donation, Dominic’s legacy now lives on in the five people he saved, ranging in age from 7 years old to 40 years old. In the past 19 months, I’ve become very active in promoting organ donation awareness and encouraging people to register. I believe people need to have a better knowledge of the facts and myths surrounding donation. Nineteen months ago I was one of those uneducated people. Since Dominic’s accident, over 50 people have registered as donors after seeing our story, and I’m sure there are countless others. I know in my heart that I made the decision that Dominic would have wanted. I also know that if we had discussed donation with him earlier, I would not have had to question myself. Through awareness and education my hope is to inspire others to register as donors and to discuss and share that decision with their family and friends.
In the months since Dominic’s accident, my family and I have worked to honor and remember Dominic by raising organ donor awareness in Southeast Missouri and by encouraging individuals to register as Organ, Eye, & Tissue Donors. To date we have raised over $8,000 for Mid-America Transplant Services (MTS) of St Louis. Our efforts include the following: The City of Scott City, MO (Dominic’s hometown) issued a proclamation declaring the month of April Donate Life Month and specified the third Friday in April as Organ Donation Day and encouraged residents of Scott City to wear blue and green in observance. Several businesses in the Scott City area have also helped play a part in awareness by displaying ribbons throughout the month of April to support Organ Donation. We have worked with the Scott City High School and coaches and organized “Playing 4 Life” baseball, softball, and football “green-out” games to further boost awareness and to raise funds for MTS. Students of Scott City High School displayed green ribbons on their vehicles during April in honor of their classmate and friend Dominic. We have also given organ donor awareness a presence at the Cape Girardeau SEMO District Fair with unique Donate Life floats during the parade the past two years.
In life, Dominic never gave up, and always strived to be the best he could be. He overcame many obstacles through the years and he became a stronger person with each challenge. I am very proud of my son. He has taught me to keep going, even though I want to quit. I have faced many challenges over the past 19 months, and I know there will be many more to come. My hope is that we all will continue to strive to be our best, just as Dom always did and, through it all, we never give up. I know God blessed me the day I became a mother. I am so proud and honored to be known as Dom’s Mom.
I now have a new, unplanned purpose in life which is to honor and remember my son Dominic with every breath I take. I cannot think of a better way than to educate and support something so near and close to my heart. In the words of William Shakespeare, “The meaning of life is to find your gift; the purpose of life is to give it away.” May the gifts Dominic has selflessly given to five others, inspire you to give your gifts as well.