Holden Cameron, Donor
Holden Loved Helping Others and Making a Difference in Life
Posted July 1, 2014
In 2011, our son signed up for classes to become a coalminer. Having already graduated with a 4 year degree in criminal justice, he just didn’t know what he wanted to do with that degree so, as a security officer for the coalmine, he decided to pursue coalmining for a while. He was also a volunteer for the fire department and first responders in our town. He loved helping others and knowing he made a difference in life.
He still lived at home at the time of his fatal accident, but as his parent, that was a blessing. He spent most of his free days, when not working; helping his family plan and build their dream home … knowing it would be his one day. His niece would come stay and he would take her for rides on his 4-wheeler as she would shriek for “Uncle Howie to go faster.” He was always first to go along golfing or shopping, always having great fun with us.
He loved deer hunting with his bow. He loved this because his dad, uncle and cousins would get together a lot through this time of year to tell stories and brag about the top of the line gadgets they had, and trust me Holden loved having the best of the best. His “Matthews” bow was one of his prized possessions, but the joke was, “he got a free bow with his $900 hat.” His dedication for his family and friends was very unselfish. If you were a friend of his, you knew he was true. Always honest, trustworthy and there for you if you asked or needed him. In all his 22 years, I never knew him to tell a lie, no matter the consequences, that was pretty remarkable in my book.
“I feel so blessed having had a son that is so wonderful. Not given a second chance in life, I hope he is on a special mission that we don’t know about.”
Christmas was the holiday he looked forward to the most. It would start on ‘Black Friday’ and continue through Christmas morning. When Santa came, he always spread the truest belief, with everyone present, in his desire to “Believe.” Even if he picked and wrapped his own gifts, he was always so excited when he opened them. The smiles and trueness in his heart was remarkable. His last Christmas with us, he asked for nothing but a hooded sweatshirt, and referred to it as the “Sweetest.” In return, he gave his mom a wonderful camera that took lots of pictures of him, and his dad an automatic grease gun for the tractor he loved to use. His generosity was clearly mysterious.
So, the day that his two best friends came to our door, on the morning of January 14, 2012 to say that Holden was in a very serious accident, in his new truck of 8 months, life as we knew it was over forever. His firefighter family was called to his scene where they worked so hard for their “brother.” When we got to the hospital, they were all lined up in the hallway waiting for us. Later we realized they were guarding the door of where our son lay. The pain and respect they showed for such a wonderful young man will always be remembered.
After we were informed of our son’s death, a nurse came in and said she was sorry to ask such a question with our recent devastating news, but she would like to ask if we would like to “Donate” our son’s organs. I didn’t understand, first of all, he was already passed. They said that tissue, bone and other things were still very usable. Second, I asked if he was already a registered donor and they said he wasn’t listed. I said yes immediately and turned to Jim (Holden’s dad) and said, “I know he would want to do this,” so we agreed. This all took place in a matter of 7 to 10 minutes of finding out that our beautiful son was gone forever.
They let us go in and visit Holden. We passed all his firefighters who tried so hard to save him and were guarding the room where he rest.
Later, the nurse came in and said that MTS needed to have 7 minutes or so to get Holden’s donor process started. The woman I talked to was wonderful. She totally understood how this discussion made no sense to me about my son. After a couple minutes of hearing her calling Holden “Cameron” I made the statement that his name was “Holden Richard Cameron” she apologized and figured out they had entered his name wrong, he was a registered “donor”… Cameron Holden was not. What a wonderful relief to know we chose what he believed in already. Later after the Assistant Fire Chief and friend drove us home, MTS called again. This conversation lasted 15 to 20 minutes. Any question imaginable was asked and answered, but the person on the other end of the line was very soothing to talk to. It was as if she knew Holden, it takes someone pretty special to talk to parents that have such devastation in their life, but time is of the essence.
“She promised me, that Holden would be treated with the utmost respect the entire time in their care and she would call me on his ride home.”
That was a comfort, and true to her word, she called and let me know everything that happened and said that a letter would come and let us know about the gifts Holden was able to give. MTS has sent us remembrance cards on his anniversary and has always thanked us and respected our son so wonderfully. They invite us every year to the Candlelight Memorial Ceremony in St. Louis. We have been both years to this wonderful ceremony … we are so proud. They said that we could find out how many lives he affected with his generous gift after a year and a half. In September we received a letter from MTS that informed us Holden provided 86 “Gifts of Life” to recipients. Two of the recipients, one from Michigan and the other from North Carolina, received vascular tissue for ‘lifesaving’ by-pass surgeries. I can honestly say, and believe, anyone that has been honored to have received any part of this wonderful man is truly blessed, for he gave so unselfishly all his life.
I feel so blessed having had a son that is so wonderful. Not given a second chance in life, I hope he is on a special mission that we don’t know about. Life without him is empty, but watching his dad walk by with Holden’s smile and step or hearing his niece use special logic of love and compassion, I believe she got from her “Uncle Howie’s” heart, has a special calm that is soothing. When I hear a door slam in the basement, where his bedroom is, look out in the backyard and see a bluebird sitting on his niece’s swing set, look down and find a penny on the ground or buy Christmas presents in his name for anyone that we find is in need, I have this dream that it is Holden letting me know he has never really left us. If you don’t dream what do you have?