PEORIA, Il. (WMBD) — On July 4, 2021, Michael Anthony Charles Johnson II was shot in Peoria and pronounced brain-dead by the 6. On Tuesday, Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood and Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donor Network had Kim Purdy, Michael’s mother, share her story during National Minority Donor Awareness Month.

“I did donate Michael’s organs. He saved seven lives,” said Purdy.

“First, I was like nervous about it. Then I was like yes, cause I want him to live on forever and ever. I’m thankful he could save other people’s lives since his was cut so short,” said Purdy.

Gift of Hope says minorities make up about 6 out of every 10 individuals needing a transplant, but only 3 in 10 are registered to donate.

While race is not a compatibility factor, it can help make matches more likely.

“When we look at donation as a whole, we’re looking at blood types, tissue types, and medical history, and those things a lot of times have to match up almost perfectly for that donation to happen. So, it’s much easier to go African American to African American, Indian to Indian, Latina to Latina, because of those things,” said Hardwood.

Michael’s mother and Harwood encourage anyone that can donate to register.

“Yeah, you can save other people’s lives. Definitely do it, because there’s a lot of people out there waiting, That’s what they told me at the Gift of Hope too,” said Purdy. “His heart’s still ticking for someone else.”