This blog entry is very hard for me to write. It deals with the unexpected loss of a child — 11-year-old Nicolas Rogers — and it also deals with the loving gift of life that his parents passed on in his memory. I have a son about Nicolas’ age, and I would be devastated if anything were to happen to my boy. My heart reaches out for the Rogers family for their loss.
On June 22 of last year, Nicolas passed away following complications as the result of an acute asthma attack. A typical 11-year-old, Nicolas was full of energy and life. His father, Kay Rogers, said Nicolas loved motorcycles. Father and son had just recently shared Nic’s very first motorcycle ride. Sadly, that was the last time they would get to enjoy that special bond of riding on a bike together. For Kay, it was a memorable day. He had all kinds of ideas of his son becoming an up-and-coming biker.
Kay and his family made the choice to donate their son’s organs so that others could be helped by their loss. This “Gift of Life” helped four other people extend their lives and spend more precious time with their families. A 10-year-old boy received Nicolas’ liver. Another boy, this one 12, received his heart. A 34-year-old man was given his right kidney and pancreas, and a 53-year-old woman now lives with Nicolas’ left kidney in her body. His lungs went to research at the University Of Illinois College Of Medicine.
I can’t help but be in awe of a family that can possess a presence of mind that enables them to make this unselfish decision — quickly and under very tragic circumstances — that would save others’ lives. In a situation that no one should have to be part of, this was a true act of heroism.
To further honor their fallen son, the family decided to organize the Nicolas Rogers Memorial run. The first run was very successful with 65 bikes riding together under beautiful skies. This year’s run is scheduled for Aug. 13 and the family is hoping for 100 riders. Proceeds from this year’s run go to the Gift of Hope organ and tissue donor network. So if you’re a biker with a big heart and a little free time, and you find yourself in the Peoria, Ill., area around Aug. 13, here’s a wonderful way to spend an afternoon and honor a young man’s memory.
Registration begins at 10 a.m. and ends at noon at the Washington American Legion building in Washington, Ill. In addition to the bike run, there will be food, entertainment, a 50-50 raffle and door prizes.
We hope to see you all there. I don’t think you’ll find a more worthy cause.
By the way, the information regarding this run came to us when Nicolas’ father, Kay, dropped by the J&P showroom a few months ago to purchase some pipes for his motorcycle. He saw our Gift of Life banner while in the store, which prompted him to write a letter to John Parham, President of J&P Cycles, to share his story. Parham, who is someone I’m pleased to say is my friend, underwent a successful lung transplant last year at this time last year, and has championed organ donations ever since. As motorcyclists, this is certainly something we should consider doing. Become an organ donor.
For more information, visit http://nicholasrogersdonatelife.webs.com/about.htm.