The Edge Report
I will need to take this weekend off in writing The Edge Report. My family and I are going to Denver as guests of Bronco safety Justin Simmons for their game against the New York Jets on Sunday. What I want to tell you now is why we are going. I wasn’t ready initially to open up about the circumstances that brought this trip about but feel now is the right time and would like to tell you about it.
Just under six months ago my 34 year old son went in to cardiac arrest while at the St Luke’s emergency room in Meridian, Idaho. He had gone there after having difficulty breathing the previous night and into the morning. His heart stopped 5 times but the doctors were able to revive him on each occasion. Upon finding out we immediately traveled to Idaho from California to be with him. He was in a coma and at that point we didn’t know if he would live or die. My wife and I were allowed to stay in his ICU room that first night. After that they would only allow one person to stay so I slept in the Chapel of the hospital as I could not bring myself to leave him or my wife and needed to be as close as possible. Believe it or not this was happening the first weekend that I began writing this report. My initial thought was to abandon it or at least put it on hold but I had already written that Fridays edition so I went ahead and sent it out. When I found myself alone in the chapel the next two nights and unable to sleep or really wrap my mind around the events that were taking place I wrote Saturday and Sundays report. I think it actually helped me at the time in dealing with what I was going though. We were in limbo and there was nothing we could do but hope and pray for a miracle. Writing was somehow therapeutic in those first two days and in the weeks that followed.
After four days my son was transferred to St. Luke’s in Boise. The doctors did everything they could over the next week to try and save him but his brain was too damaged from lack of oxygen when he cardiac arrested and there was no hope in his survival. We made the difficult decision to have him taken off life support on April 3, 2021.
My son is my hero. What makes me say that is the reason behind Denver Bronco Justin Simmons getting in touch with us. You see, my sons name is also Justin Simmons and he had made the choice to be an organ donor. He saved three lives by donating his kidneys and liver. This selfless act is amazing to me and what constitutes my son being my hero. St. Luke’s and the organ donor group overseeing the donation process held an honor walk for Justin as he was taken down to give his last breadth. It has been viewed over 800,000 times on YouTube. (Just search Justin Simmons Honor Walk and you can watch it if you would like. I would be honored if you did.)
The assistant for Justin Simmons, Bronco Safety, receives alerts on him and about a month after my sons death he got one that said Justin Simmons had passed away. He got a second alert a day later so decided to look into it, though he knew it was not his Justin. He came across the obituary that I wrote for my son and it struck a chord with him. (You can read it here: https://www.farewell.com/obituary/justin-simmons). He also watched his honor walk and it brought him to tears. He was moved as most are who watch it, but the impact was even heavier as my son shared a name with the man he worked for. It was then that he got in touch with his Justin Simmons and told him about what he had found.
Justin and his wife watched the video and read the obituary and it had a tremendous impact on them both. He asked his assistant to reach out to arrange a meeting and bring us out to Denver to watch a game. We will be doing just that this Saturday and Sunday. He has his own foundation that he has recently launched that he would like us to get involved in and possibly bring more awareness to organ donation. You can follow on Twitter @JSFoundation31. His assistant texted my wife this week and told her that a producer from ESPN may be getting in touch with her. They have read the obituary and viewed his honor walk and think here is a compelling story there.
The impact this has had on people is overwhelming to think about. We never imagined that Justin’s life and death would have this type of effect on people, not only that knew him, but that had never met him. I hope his story touches you in some way and if you are not an organ donor that you would give serious consideration to being one.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back writing the report in two weeks. If I get a chance I will pop on Twitter this weekend and let everyone know how things are going.