Rocky Ducker, 1983-2006

May 22, 2006 started out like most days. In a hurry, what is the kid’s schedule, are we traveling this weekend? On this day I also had a conversation with my son Rocky about his intentions of moving to Louisiana to help in the rebuilding of that State after Hurricane Katrina. We talked about his daughter who at the time was only 8 months old and why did he need to move so far away? That evening he hopped on his motorcycle to take a ride with friends. Little did we know that the next phone call we would get was to tell us he had an accident and was not moving. I thought about my son all day and felt the need to continue our conversation.

The phone ringing would be from those friends saying get to the hospital now! What I remember most was the doctor telling me he was brain dead- he had hit the back of his neck where the brain stem is. There was no hope of recovery and his body would not last long either. Our decision became when [not what can we do,] do we decide to let him go. His sister, father, and others were on the other side of the US so the task became telling them and getting them home. I could not think, function, just wondered why. Then Rocky’s in-laws asked me if I had thought about organ donation? At that point, the answer was “no,” and “what is that, organ donation?” After my quick education and discussion with family, we did decide to allow him to be an organ & tissue donor. Though I was still feeling skeptical, our discussions with the great staff at PNTB, the hospital, and family helped seal our decision that we were allowing Rocky to do the right thing. My son always lived every day to its fullest. He raced motocross, snowmobiled, hunted, fished, he lived the Idaho life. He would always tell me, “mother, we can die today crossing the street. If we always live in fear of dying, we never live”.

In making this decision, Rocky was able to give the gift of life to 7 people and sight to 2 others. Our hope is that countless others have also benefited from his gift of tissue donation. Rocky was always about helping the underdog, so in allowing him to become a donor, he was able to help the underdog one last time and leave behind a wonderful legacy for his daughter Monique. I will not tell you that this is an easy choice, but certainly one after reading the letters we have received from the recipients, a right choice that has made a difference for many families including ours. We could not change that fateful day for my son, but we were able to allow him to change that day for several others. Take the time to have this conversation as you might one day be in our position to change the course of one’s life. I believe the words my son would say to you is this…Pass it Forward.