Monday, April 06, 2009

Richmond, California cop saves lives after dying in cruiser crash

This heartwarming event was taking place just as I was leaving San Francisco to return home after attending a meeting on the importance of research in lung transplantation.

Susan Moody hugs Michael Lause

Richmond cop saves lives, even after his own.
Susan Moody, widow of Bradley Moody, hugs Michael Lause of Livermore as the officer's mother, Elizabeth, watches

By Carolyn Jones San Francisco Chronicle

Her eyes welling with tears, Susan Moody reached toward Michael Lause and tentatively, gently placed her hand on his chest.

"It makes me feel like I'm touching Bradley," said Moody, whose husband, Richmond police Officer Brad Moody, died Oct. 7 after his cruiser crashed on a rain-slicked road while he was responding to a fellow officer's call for help.

Lause, 54, held Moody as she wept on his chest. Inside that chest was her husband's lung.

"It's amazing - my husband saved this man's life," she said. "He was a true hero. It gives me comfort knowing, in a way, he lives on."

Lause is one of five people to receive Brad Moody's organs. Three recipients and their families gathered at Chabot College in Hayward on Saturday to meet the Moody family and members of the Richmond Police Department, an event that left virtually everyone in tears.

Lause, a former refinery worker who lives in Livermore with his wife and daughter, described the day as "overwhelming."

"The love I've gotten from his family and friends has just been amazing," he said. "I told them how I'm going to honor him by taking the best care of his lung that I can."

A former marathon runner, Lause contracted pulmonary fibrosis in 2004. The disease, which leads to scarring of the lungs, ultimately left him bedridden and unable to breathe without an oxygen tank. His doctors said he was days from death when Moody's lungs became available, and because they were both big men with the same blood type, the organ fit.

"In the hospital, my wife came in and saw I suddenly didn't have an oxygen tank. She said 'Oh my God,' and started crying tremendously," he said. "It was a wonderful feeling to give that to her."

Brad Moody's family also donated his pancreas, liver, heart and other lung. The Vacaville native had long ago decided he wanted to be an organ donor, his brother said Saturday.

"He wanted to continue on," Jamie Moody said. "He said if he could save lives after he was gone, he would."

The Lause and Moody families were joined by many other donor recipients and their families at Saturday's event, sponsored by the California Transplant Donor Network.

There were bouquets of roses, a bagpipe band, free Kleenex for wiping tears, and hugs that no one wanted to end.

Elizabeth Moody, Brad's mother, was especially gratified.

"We are very, very proud," she said of her son. "To know that Brad is still out there saving lives is so comforting. He was a hero to the end."

Brad Moody was not the only public safety veteran who donated his organs last year. Antwan Moore, a Modesto firefighter who died of a blood clot in his brain, gave his liver to David Morales, 53, an El Sobrante father of four who owns a dental laboratory.

"All I can say is that Antwan was a very giving, very selfless man," Morales said, as he gave Moore's wife a bouquet of flowers. "There's nothing I can do to replace him. But I can say 'Thank you.' "

Like Brad Moody, Moore wanted to continue saving lives after he died, his family said.

Moore's extended family, some of whom drove from Oregon for the occasion, said that meeting Morales - healthy, smiling, filled with gratitude - was an enormous comfort.

"It's like he's still here," said his mother, Dorothy Moore of Oakdale. "It's like a miracle taking place."

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network
For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

In Great Britain, register at NHS Organ Donor Register

In Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

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