2016 Team Member - Diane Linares, in Honor of Her Son Brian Christian Ellis

Hello, I am Brian; I died from an infection after having surgery to replace a 31 years old shunt in my head. I was born Hydrocephalus (a condition called water on the brain) and the shunt was placed in my brain at the age of 2-weeks, to allow the fluid blocked in my head to release into my abdomen, giving me a chance to live. My mother always feared for me to have this surgery; and I know that I was one of the lucky few to have had a shunt so long without complications. My mother’s fears for me were answered exactly as she had dreaded. A week after the surgery, I got the infection and a second surgery was needed. That night I stopped breathing and was placed on a respirator, 48 hours later I was declared brain-dead.

Although, my mother knew that I would want my organs donated, she would not have done so if my sister Monica had not agreed. After my mom, my sister was the closest person to me, and she didn’t want my organs donated…why, I will someday need to ask her. Most likely she was just full of grief and did not want me to leave. I didn’t want to leave either, but my time on earth must have been complete.

I am grateful, that Monica changed her mind. My organs gave the gift of life to 6 different people. Their time on earth must be needed for important reasons, and I am glad that I was able to be of help in continuing their lives. I know this makes it more bearable for my family, knowing in some small way I continue to live on through others.

My mom wrote about me for our local paper. She also made me my very own “Facebook” page. I know these are her ways of keeping my memory alive. But, I am happy knowing that I am keeping others alive; people who are now making memories for their family. What a great legacy to have achieved, all because my sister said yes and my mother said “it is what he would want” …how well she knew me.

What would you want to do if you were me; would you want your family to say no? Do they know what your decision would be? Make that decision for them. Make your own legacy. Become an organ and tissue donor today by registering with Donate Life California.

Enjoy life, Brian

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