Shelita Furlow describes her son, Jovan Wilder, as a “smart and creative young man” who played drums and basketball and was good at everything he tried. “Jovan wore his heart on his sleeve; he would help anybody,” she says. “He was always able to be a light to other people and get them to see the best in themselves.”
One day before his 19th birthday, Jovan and his brother were driving when Jovan was hit by a stray bullet. He spent his birthday in the ICU and was pronounced brain dead the next day. When doctors informed Shelita that Jovan was a registered organ donor, she was surprised, as organ donation was never something her family discussed.
“I knew he donated blood and plasma but didn’t know that he signed up to be an organ donor. That made me very, very proud,” she says. “He made it easy for me; I didn’t have to choose. I would have chosen that for him, even if he hadn’t picked it himself. It was a very proud moment.”
Jovan donated his liver, kidneys and heart to give others a second chance at life. Now, Shelita encourages others—especially those in the African American community—to learn more about organ and tissue donation and join the registry. “Because of the gift my son gave, others are able to live on. What better way to leave a legacy?”
People need people, make a difference in someone’s life by donating blood.
We must rely on each other for the gift of blood, and patients in your community rely on the generosity of Versiti’s blood donors to help. Please consider scheduling an appointment to donate. If this is your first time, donating blood is quick, easy and relatively painless. And, it is a great way to give back and help patients in your community.
View our Blood Donation FAQs for more information.