As a donor mother, I was inspired by the amazing legacy my son Jeffrey “JJ” Johns left after his passing. It became my passion to inspire and educate my community about the importance of organ and tissue donation. I started JJ’s Legacy in 2009 to honor Jeffrey, and it has grown to be so much more than I ever imagined! Today, JJ’s Legacy is educating and inspiring our community to become registered organ and tissue donors and honoring donor families and recipients in Kern County.
Jeffrey saved five lives through organ donation and enhanced fifty lives through tissue and cornea donation. His heart saved a 64 year-old married man named Carl. My family had the honor to meet Carl. He asked us if we would like to listen to Jeffrey’s heart. Knowing that my son’s heart was in the same room with us and that I could listen to my son’s heartbeat was the most heartfelt feeling and waves of emotions followed. Since his transplant, Carl has been able to return to work as an actor.
Jackie was a young, 14 year-old girl when she started dialysis in 2004. After receiving her gift of life, a kidney transplant, she is dialysis free and lives a healthy life. We had the honor of meeting her, and she was immensely grateful for her new kidney. Her transplant let her continue her high school education.
Jeffrey also was able to give two people the gift of sight from his cornea tissue, and we also got to hear as Jeffrey’s left kidney, liver, right and left lungs gave others the gift of life!
Jeffrey had an infectious love for life, and JJ’s Legacy is one way that continues. He is loved by family and friends, and we remember him every single day. The loss of Jeffrey has been a rollercoaster of emotion, confusion and painful grief, but the family and friends who have become part of JJ’s Legacy give me the strength and courage to move forward.
I often hear Jeffrey’s voice telling me, “Mom: if you are going to do something, do it the very best you can!” And that is why JJ’s Legacy exists, to honor the legacy of Jeffrey “JJ” Johns by inspiring our community to give the gift of life. Will you join me?
Mother of Jeffrey Johns, An Organ and Tissue Donor
Chairperson, JJ’s Legacy
JJ’s Legacy is a 501(C)(3) Non-Profit Organization