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Glenside, PA Mother of Two Finds Comfort this Holiday in Husband’s Life-Saving Legacy

This Thanksgiving, many Pennsylvania families will break bread and celebrate all that they are thankful for. Thanksgiving is a special day to share with loved ones, express gratitude and indulge in an abundance of delicious food. Often, the holidays can be a bittersweet time for many who have lost loved ones. Jackie Kelble knows this feeling well. She lost her beloved husband, Dave, in 2012. The couple has two children together, Brooke, 7, and Tyler, 5.

This Thanksgiving, many Pennsylvania families will break bread and celebrate all that they are thankful for. Thanksgiving is a special day to share with loved ones, express gratitude and indulge in an abundance of delicious food. Often, the holidays can be a bittersweet time for many who have lost loved ones. Jackie Kelble knows this feeling well. She lost her beloved husband, Dave, in 2012. The couple has two children together, Brooke, 7, and Tyler, 5.

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Dave was in a traumatic accident several days before Thanksgiving 2012, while cutting down a tree. He was only 32 years old when he died. “Thanksgiving is a hard time for me. We used to go to the Hatboro Parade every year, and I still haven’t been able to go since he died. The last pictures I have of him were at that parade.” said Jackie.

Although losing Dave has been emotionally challenging for Jackie and her close-knit family, she has found one comfort in her grief – Dave’s decision to be an organ and tissue donor. He was able to save and enhance many lives through his selflessness, and his legacy is as a life-saving hero. “He was an organ donor on his license, but even if he wouldn’t have been – we would have known it was what he wanted. He lived his life that way. He was a volunteer firefighter and he loved to help people. Everyone who ever met him said what a great guy he was. He worked really hard – many long hours – to take care of his family, and allow me to stay home and care for our kids.” said Jackie.

For Jackie and her family, knowing that Dave saved many lives is the “silver lining” in a very tragic situation. “Dave being a donor has brought me healing. It has also helped me to share our story and meet other organ transplant recipients through Gift of Life. It means a lot to me to hear their stories, and to see how grateful they are.” said Jackie.

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This year, Jackie will spend Thanksgiving with her family. “I’m the most thankful for my kids. They’ve helped me keep going since Dave died. Even if I didn’t want to get up every day, I had no choice with young children. It really pushed me and I needed that. My family has also really supported me.” she said.

The Kelble’s choose to focus on the positive and celebrate Dave’s life each year in the spring. His birthday, April 27th, is a special day for Jackie, her children, family and friends. They gather together to honor him and have a big birthday party. “He loved ice cream cake, so we have a party and get a cake. We write messages on balloons and release them.” she said.

Today, nearly 8,500 me n, women and children in Pennsylvania are awaiting a life-saving organ transplant, and nationally over 119,000 are waiting. Unfortunately, because of the lack of individuals registered as donors, 21 people die each day in the U.S. while waiting. Jackie speaks in the community and at local Driver’s Centers to encourage others to register as organ and tissue donors. She is an active supporter of donation, and enjoys volunteering for Gift of Life to share her powerful story. “I try to tell people that organ donation can turn a terrible tragedy into something so good. It can bring a positive outcome from something horrible.” she said.

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