Feb. 28, 2013 | Garrett is called home

10 year old Garrett passes away at University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City, IA. Garrett’s “Gifts of Life” are matched to recipients where they will provide healing to those in desperate need.

March 19, 2013 | News of the organ recipients shines its first light in the Brockway’s home

Bruce and Tiffini receive the first information about Garrett’s recipients from Iowa Donor Network (IDN). The packet included brief bios and current status of the five organ recipients and also information regarding Garrett’s lung and cartilage donations. The following is a brief excerpt from these updates from IDN.

  • Garrett’s Right Kidney was received by 28 yr old man who is a student that has undergone dialysis 3 times a week since 2008. His recovery has gone well.
  • Garrett’s Left Kidney was received by 65 yr old man. He is married with 5 children and has undergone dialysis 3 times a week since 2011. He is home recovering.
  • Garrett’s Pancreas was received by a 43 yr old woman. She is married with 1 child and works for an insurance company. Her recovery has gone well.
  • Garrett’s Liver was received by a 14 yr old boy whose recovery has gone well. He has 3 sisters and the family sent a special message:“We are extremely grateful for this gift that has been given to our son, it will truly change his quality of life.”
  • Garrett’s Heart continues beating in the chest of a 14 yr old boy who is looking forward to returning to school.
  • Garrett’s Lungs went to the top Cystic Fibrosis research center. These were the youngest non-cystic fibrosis lungs the lab had ever received.
  • Garrett’s knee cartilage was recovered to promote healing for injuries brought on by physical activity and/or age.


March 25, 2013 | Bruce and Tiffini reach out to the recipients

Bruce and Tiffini send their first letter to Garrett’s recipients:

"First, let us convey how happy we are that our son, Garrett, through his organ donation could help you in your time of need. We pray for you daily and your continued recovery. In our last days with Garrett, we were given great comfort knowing that you were receiving a phone call and a renewed sense of hope."

April 10, 2013 | Lea responds (63 yr old cornea recipient)

"Your wonderful gift enables me to see my children and grandchildren. When I was told that I would slowly lose my sight and would need a transplant the future seemed pretty grim."

April 19, 2013 | Emma’s mother responds (10 yr old cornea recipient)

"We started this letter two days after our daughter received the wonderful gift of Garrett's cornea, but have not felt that our note was adequate enough to send. Then, after receiving your wonderful letter today, we realized that it really never would be adequate, but this attempt to share our gratitude was better than our continued silence... Where does one begin to thank selfless heroism knowing that it begins with the loss of someone that means more than life itself?"

May 8, 2013 | David responds (65 yr old man who received Garrett’s kidney and was a 'perfect match')

"My family and I want to thank the both of you and especially Garrett from the bottom of our hearts. I was so shocked when I was in dialysis when the phone rang. It was hard to believe it at first. I had so many disappointments that it took me a minute to get the message. From that minute on I was all ears and called the people I was supposed to call."

May 8, 2013 | Krissy responds (knee cartilage recipient, who is a female police officer wounded in the line of duty)

"I am an active mother and a police officer who was injured in the line of duty over a year ago. Since my injury, I have not been able to be 'me'. After my first surgery was unsuccessful, I was overcome by feelings of stress and inadequacy. I wasn't able to work, nor was I able to do activities I enjoyed like running with my daughter, hiking with my dogs or maintaining my garden. My doctor suggested a second surgery with the tissue implant. I was nervous, happy and sad all at the same time. Although this was promising news for my family, I knew that it meant heartbreaking news for another family. I have always been a registered organ donor, but I never thought I would need the special gift you've provided."

May 8, 2013 | University of Iowa Cystic Fibrosis Research Labs

Bruce, Tiffini and Adeline tour the University of Iowa Cystic Fibrosis Research Labs and met the incredible group of doctors, scientists, and biomedical engineers who have been assembled to research and battle this life threatening disease. They also learned that Garrett’s lungs were the youngest non-cystic fibrosis lungs received to date and that the staff was anxious to see what discoveries could be made thanks to Garrett’s gifts.

June 25, 2013 | Judy responds (the mother of a 14 yr old of knee cartilage tissue recipient)

"Your decision to donate is such a miracle in its own. My son needed a cartilage transplant in his knee. After 2 years and many continuous injuries he was in constant pain and couldn't be a kid anymore. The grafted cartilage was one part of a knee reconstruction that in the long run will allow him to be an active adult as well as a child."

June 25, 2013 | Robert responds (knee cartilage recipient - 54 year old male who enjoyed running)

"I have always been an active person. About ten years ago I decided that I would start running. Running has been a great joy to me. I discovered the pleasure of running in 5K fundraisers soon after that...  On Thanksgiving 2012 I ran our local Turkey Trot with 15 friends and relatives. My 25 year old son and my 20 year old daughter both participated even though they knew that I would outpace them. WHAT A THRILL! That was my last run. I have limped around in pain since then... I cannot express to you my gratitude for having made this treatment option available. The simple pleasures of running, bicycling, snowshoeing, and walking pain free will allow me to again live my life fully."

July 9, 2013 | Leslie responds (43 yr old woman who received Garrett’s pancreas)

"On March 1, 2013 I received a new pancreas transplant. If it was not for this wonderful gift, I would still be diabetic and taking shots. I have been diabetic for several years. Because of this transplant and the success of it, I am now able to have a normal life; something I did not know would happen or not. Without being diabetic, I can avoid a lot of the complications this disease brings along with it."

Sept. 7, 2013 | The first meeting with Leslie

Bruce, Tiffini and Adeline meet Leslie (pancreas recipient), her family and her transplant team at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, IA.

Sept. 28, 2013 | Raising awareness in Burlington

Leslie attends the 1st Annual Garrett’s Path 5K and speaks about the importance of organ donation to over 1400 runners and walkers prior to race.

Dec. 9, 2013 | Bruce and Tiffini send a letter to Lea (cornea recipient)

“We were so happy to hear that Garrett’s gift of a cornea could allow you to clearly see your five children and ten grandchildren again. What a wonderful joy that must bring to your heart.”

Dec. 9, 2013 | Bruce and Tiffini send a letter to the three organ transplant recipients they have not heard from

“Learning to live without Garrett has certainly been difficult but we continue to take great comfort knowing that his gifts of life have gone on to help the lives of many, including yourself. We realize that you might find it difficult to respond and your silence is certainly understandable, however, we hope that someday you feel comfortable in sharing your story with us. Please know that we are thinking of and praying for you.”

Dec. 10, 2013 | Bruce and Tiffini send a response letter to David (kidney recipient)

“We were touched to learn you will cherish his pictures and you have selected a special place for one in your home. David, please know that we pray for you every day. We ask that God continue to help you heal, not only from your recent kidney surgery, but also from the pain of losing your own son.”  


March 11, 2014 | Kade’s mother responds (14 yr old heart recipient)

"We want to thank you for your selfless choice to think of others at your most difficult time. Through your gift, our son Kade has begun a new life after receiving Garrett’s precious heart….  Kade was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and had his first open heart surgery at 8 days old. He had 2 more open heart surgeries before the age of 2…. Kade spent the year prior to receiving this transplant with a pump providing continuous IV medication to support his heart….  Your gift has changed all of our lives….  

Kade has now grown 4 inches in the last 10 months; he had only grown ⅜ of an inch over the previous 2 years.

We were able to take our first family vacation in 7 years.

We continue to pray for your family’s healing and thank God daily for the gift you have given us.”

Sept. 27, 2014 | Emma (cornea recipient) and her family surprise Bruce and Tiffini by attending the 2nd Annual Garrett’s Path 5K.

What an emotional meeting and the beginning of a wonderful friendship. Leslie (pancreas recipient) and her family also attend the event for the 2nd year in a row.

Feb. 20, 2015 | Bruce and Tiffini send a letter to Judy (mother of boy that received Garrett’s juvenile cartilage)

“We received your letter in June of 2013 and it brought us great peace knowing that our son, Garrett, was able to help your son heal from chronic knee pain…. We wish your son the very best in his overall recovery as we continue to pray for him.”

Feb. 20, 2015 | Bruce and Tiffini send a letter to Krissy (police officer wounded in line of duty that received Garrett’s juvenile cartilage)

“We wish you the very best in your overall recovery as we continue to pray for you. We have always had a great deal of respect for men and women in law enforcement and we are very honored to know that our hero has in turn helped another hero.”

Sept. 11, 2015 | IDN provides updates on all of the recipients to the Brockway’s

  • The right kidney recipient works full-time. He is also a dancer that performs modern ballet for a dance company in his community. His current health is excellent.
  • The left kidney recipient spends most of his time caring for his wife who is wheelchair bound. He has had no hospitalizations since his transplant. His kidney function is excellent.
  • The heart recipient is doing well. He recently got his driver’s license and just returned from a week at camp. He plays on the high school golf team. He is excited to be back in school for his sophomore year. His current health and heart function are excellent.
  • The liver recipient is now 17 years old. He is a totally different person than he was before the transplant. His coordinator states everything is significantly better for this young man! He is able to attend school regularly. He has a great personality. He is funny and everyone enjoys being around him. The transplant has been an incredible life change for the better for this young man. His current health and liver function are excellent.
  • Because you are in contact with Leslie, I did not include an update on her.

Sept. 26, 2015 | Leslie (pancreas recipient) and Emma (cornea recipient) attend the 3rd Annual Garrett’s Path 5K

Dec. 4, 2015 | IDN provides a powerful update on the incredible impact Garrett’s tissue donation made

Garrett was able to donate juvenile cartilage which aids in the regeneration of damaged tissue. Juvenile cartilage promotes healing for patients with cartilage defects caused by disease or stress to the knee brought on by physical activity and/or age.

One hundred and sixty-six grafts were created and transplanted. Garrett gift of juvenile cartilage has enhanced the lives of 125 people across 34 states in the US and 1 person in Canada!

Garrett’s gift of descending thoracic aorta for research will aid in the development of new technology and medical advancements for life saving vascular surgeries.

Aug. 3, 2017 Josh’s Mom, Jennifer, writes a letter (liver recipient)

“Josh was born with a urea cycle defected called Argininosuccinic Aciduria. UCDs are a life threatening disorder that inhibits the body’s ability to properly break down protein. This leads to the build-up of ammonia in the body, which can cause brain damage and even death…     

…Things began to change after he turned thirteen. He gradually began to lose control despite the fidelity with diet and medication. Hospital stays averaged about once every five weeks and he was at the highest dosage of meds allowed for his body weight…

…When Josh’s geneticist talked to us about life expectancy, we knew there was one option left. We then decided to pursue transplant. A new liver was the closest thing Josh could get to a cure. It was our last hope…

…On January 15, 2013 Josh was listed for transplant. March 1, 2013 he received his gift of a new life because of the selfless decision you made in your time of despair. Josh spent ten days in the hospital and two additional weeks living close by the transplant team. He returned home three weeks post-transplant and even returned to school at the end of April. We didn’t realize how bad he felt until he felt well…

…Please know that your decision to donate comes with gratitude beyond words...”   

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