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Even after death, boy’s gifts appreciated this Christmas

How it helped a father heal from tragedy.
WASHINGTON - For many people who have lost a loved one, Christmas can be a difficult time of year, but one Washington dad says his son’s memory is stronger than ever.

“When Nick came into the room he brightened up the room. He just brought his energy in with him because he was so loud, so rambunctious, so energetic,” said Kay Rogers.

A child who brought so much joy to those around him is now a voice that's missing from the Rogers household.

“This year it seems to be bothering me a little more than previous years and I think a lot of it too is Nick would be 15 this year.”

There's one night in 2010 he said he won't ever forget.

“My oldest son Aaron came and got me and said, Nick couldn't breathe and I needed to get down and see what was going on,” Rogers recalled.

He said Nick was trying to treat an asthma attack, something he regularly dealt with.

“This one just came on so fast and so strong there was nothing that was working,” Rogers said.

Unfortunately, even after doctors worked away on him, Nick was brain dead from lack of oxygen. He was 11-years-old. But what Rogers may not have known at that time was how much the next step would change his life and the lives of others.

The Rogers family keeps a box full of memories of Nick. Out of all of the treasures in there, Rogers said, “my favorite is the letter which is the one here, what Gift of Hope sends you when you make a donation.”

Nicks parents donated their son's organs through the organization Gift of Hope.

In the letter it says, “a 14-year-old boy from Kansas received your sons heart,” “the transplant was a success and the new heart began to work right away. He's looking forward to recovering at home with his parents and his two brothers.”

But the giving doesn’t end there “A 12-year-old boy from Minnesota received the liver,” and “a 50-year-old woman from Texas received the left kidney. She waited six years for her gift of hope.”

While his family still grieves, Kay Rogers knows there are other parents, brothers and sisters who can still hug their loved ones tight. They'll see those faces light up on Christmas day. And it's all thanks to one little boy from Washington, Illinois.

“There isn't a day that goes by when I don't miss my son I can assure you that,” Rogers said. “Even in the greatest tragedy such as losing a child there is even greater hope and that hope is the gift of life that you give people when you do organ donation.”

Rogers has since gotten involved as an advocate for the Gift of Hope Organization, so much he even won an award in October. A proud father, who said it's kept his son's memory alive and been the best tool to heal from tragedy.

“He does live on, it is in others maybe not the way I’d like him to, but he's still here you know, and I know I’ll see him again someday.

To top it all off Nick Roger's lungs were donated to science. Researchers are using them to study ways to help others in the future.

Check out this link for more information on Gift of Hope.
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