Danbury mom stresses importance of organ donation after son’s death

A Danbury mother who lost her 7-year-old son three years ago wants more people to register as organ donors.



James McGowan died after choking on a hot dog. Sylvie McGowan, who works at Danbury Hospital, says she tried the Heimlich maneuver and CPR. So did her neighbor and the responding police officer.



"Nothing was working," she says. He later died in the hospital.



She wanted to find a way that his memory would live on, so she had some of James' organs donated: his kidneys, corneas and heart valves.



"I think people don't think of it as a priority, don't think of it as life," she says. "I think they just think, 'Well someone else will do it.' But you're the someone else."



McGowan says her son's organs saved lives. Organ donation, she adds, is important because 22 people die on an average day in the United States as they're waiting for donors.



"I just hope that by the recipients getting James' organs, that they all have happy and healthy lives," McGowan says.



A charity walk in James' memory is scheduled for April 29.


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