As a 10 year old typical boy, Garrett was involved in many activities where he enjoyed spending as much time with his buddies as possible. Among those activities were baseball, soccer, basketball and Tae Kwon Do. He had also celebrated his 1st place Pinewood Derby victory and enjoyed the many fun activities with being a Webelo scout. Outside of his active lifestyle, Garrett was a kind, caring and fun loving boy that adored spending time with his family and being an alter server at St. John’s the Baptist Church.
From the start, Garrett was always an exemplary student and became an avid reader, reading at the ninth grade reading level. As a proud big brother of his sister Adeline, he couldn’t wait for the fall of 2013 when she would start Kindergarten and join him at Notre Dame.
To say Garrett was a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team was an understatement. He rarely missed watching a game and could rattle off most of the players’ stats. Many memories were made at Busch Stadium including the last game he attended in September of 2011 when his Dad caught 2 foul balls!!! He also got to run the bases after the game. Bruce and Tiffini often comment how God made that day so special for all of them.
Every child has a favorite candy, and for Garrett, it was Kit Kats… and he never missed an opportunity to eat one.
On February 24th, 2013 while working on the family property with his Dad, Garrett was struck by a falling tree. After Garrett’s parents were told he would not survive, they decided to donate his organs, corneas and tissues with the hope of helping as many other people as possible in their time of need. Garrett was a young and healthy boy and his parents knew his gifts of life could answer the prayers for many, saving them and their families from the same despair.
Five lives were saved through Garrett’s gift of organ donation: a 14-year-old boy received his heart; another 14 year-old-boy with three younger sisters received his liver; a 43-year-old woman received his pancreas; a 28-year-old man that had been on dialysis for over four years received one of his kidney’s while a 65-year-old man that was a “perfect match” received his other kidney.
His corneas improved vision for a 10-year-old girl and a 63-year-old woman.
His knee cartilage provided 166 grafts, ALL of which were transplanted to 125 recipients spreading across 34 states plus Canada including a police officer wounded in the line of duty, a boy who had suffered chronic knee pain for years and a gentleman who adored running in 5K’s.
In total, 132 people benefited from Garrett’s gifts of organ, cornea and tissue. It is truly amazing to think of the massive impact a single ‘yes’ made.
Garrett’s lungs were unable to be donated to a person but instead were donated to research at the University of Iowa’s Cystic Fibrosis Research Center. At the time of donation, they were the youngest set of non-cystic fibrosis lungs received.
While Garrett’s family grieves his untimely passing every day, they have found great comfort in their strong faith and knowing the life changing impact his gifts have made on his recipients and their family and friends. The Garrett M. Brockway Foundation was created to honor Garrett by improving awareness for organ donation. In addition, the foundation strives to make a positive impact on children through academic opportunities and athletic programs.