Kaylie Jackson should be sitting with her family and friends this weekend talking about her freshman year at Ohio State University.
She should be saying something about her first-year core classes and wondering what they have to do with her medical major.
Kaylie, a 2018 Monroe High School graduate, planned to earn her degree from OSU, then become a surgeon.
Save lives for a living.
All of dreams were dashed when the 17-year-old, a senior at Monroe, was critically injured April 28 in a car crash on her way to have dinner in Mason before prom. She was a back-seat passenger in the car that swerved off Millikin Road and struck a telephone pole, according to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office
In the seven months since her death, the 17-year-old driver of the 2013 Tesla has been charged with two counts of vehicular assault and one count of vehicular homicide, there have been court delays and the accusations about the cause of the accident has ripped apart the once close-knit families and galvanized the Monroe community.
A bench trial in Butler County Juvenile Court was scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 15, but icy weather knocked out power to parts of Hamilton, including the Butler County Juvenile Justice Center.
Attorneys met with the judge and continued the case until Dec. 3.
But through it all, Kaylie has saved lives.
Her family fulfilled one of her wishes: be an organ donor. Eight of her organs have saved six lives, including Yaseen Shalash, a 3-year-old boy Lexington boy who was fighting for his life. While Kaylie’s family was planning a funeral, the Shalash family was celebrating another chance at life.
For that, the Shalashes are thankful, this weekend and every day.
“We thought he wasn’t going to make it,” said Feras Shalash, 27, the oldest of eight children to Saeed and Raida Shalash. “We are happy, happy that our brother has a second life.”
The two families, separated by 115 miles but forever linked by a split liver, have met at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center. There were hugs and tears. And apprehensions. What do you say to a grieving family whose decision saved your son’s life?
“We thanked them all from our hearts,” Feras Shalash said during a phone interview. “We let them know their family is within our brother. They’re a part of the family now. They gave us the opportunity to have our brother.”
When Yaseen was born, he had liver surgery, his family said. Two months later, the family found out his liver was “defaulted,” his father said.
He was placed on a liver transplant list. He waited for about 18 months.
Then in May, the family receive the call it had prayed for, but at the same time, a call it never wanted.
Someone had died.
But that someone was a match.
Yaseen successfully received 25 percent of Kaylie’s recovered liver and the rest was given to a grandmother.
Before the surgery, Yaseen’s health was deteriorating, his skin getting more yellow every day. He constantly was being treated at Cincinnati Children’s, but he was too weak for surgery, his family said.
The Shalashes, now more than ever, are advocates of organ donation. They have received. If needed, they want to give back.
“We now have more time with him,” his brother said. “Time. You can’t buy time.”
Yaseen hasn’t been told about his medical history and the miracle that extended his life. He will be told one day.
“He will know he has a piece of somebody,” his father said. “A part of her body is in our son today. She completed her life. He lives on because of her.”
Just like she dreamed, Kaylie Jackson is saving lives.
Thank you for reading the Journal-News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to exclusive deals and newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Journal-News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.