While many East Texans are celebrating thanksgiving with their families one Mineola family celebrated with a guest who entered their lives through tragedy.
Tragedy struck the Williams family two years ago when their son Todd died in an accident, but Todd was an organ donor and helped save multiple lives.
One of those people was David Shawgo Wills Point and he is now a friend to the Williams family.
Shawgo had a heart condition and needed a left ventricle assist device (LVAD) in order to live.
“I got that staph MRSA all the way through my drive lines and everything went up to my heart,” said Shawgo. “It started eating a big hole in my chest and got real bad.”
Due to the infection Shawgo could no longer survive with the LVAD and needed a heart transplant.
Five days after he was put on the list he heard the news.
“When they called me and said ‘we got you a heart’ it was at midnight I was shopping at Walmart and I liked to hit the ground,” said Shawgo.
Meanwhile the Williams family was going through the most difficult time of their lives with the death of their son.
“He had just came in and ate my leftover Olive Garden and told me that he’d back and that he loved me,” said Jacklyn Williams, Todd’s sister. “First I just thought it was a dream and I dropped to my knees and started praying and praying.”
The Williams family was given the opportunity to write letters to everyone who received their son’s organs Shawgo was the only one to reply and they made plans to meet him.
“Two days after Todd’s birthday we got a wild hare and just drove up there,” said Leon Williams, Todd’s father. “Wills Point is not that far from here, we put his address in Google Maps and called him and popped in on him a minute later.”
The meeting was understandably emotional.
“I really couldn’t say no when they asked to meet the family,” said Shawgo. “You get so emotions and feeling about everything, it’s crazy.”
After nearly a year of a relationship consisting mostly of communicating through messaging….
The Williams family decided to invite him for Thanksgiving.
“We just sort of looked at each other and at the same time said ‘lets invite david over for thanksgiving, you think he’ll come?,” said Michelle Williams, Todd’s mother.
Without any hesitation he accepted their offer and he fit right in.
“It’s no different than any other thanksgiving, it makes me really happy,” said Jacklyn Williams.
They all stressed the importance of being an organ donor and recommended that everyone should become one.
“Losing a child is a terrible, terrible thing for parents to go through,” said Leon Williams. “But him being a donor, for one made me proud as a father….he was a hero, he saved David’s life.”
“I called it my son’s heart but when I met him that day I realized that’s not my son’s heart, that’s David’s heart,” said Michelle Williams. “I encourage everyone to be a donor because you could save a life instead of putting that organ in a casket or cremating it.”