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Two Families, Two Faiths: Joined by Ryan’s life-saving legacy

After tragedy brought them together, Carol and Kareem realized they shared a special bond through their faith and the life-saving legacy of organ donation.

Two Families, Two Faiths: Joined by Ryan’s life-saving legacy

Ryan Shaw’s devout faith and his mother Carol’s ability to transcend grief sparked two events Carol calls “miracles.” First, new life for four strangers and then a deep and inspiring bond between two very different people.

Carol McCloud, asked doctors if Ryan could be an organ donor when he suffered a fatal epileptic seizure in 2014. She knew that Ryan, so loving and strong in his Catholic faith, would want to save lives as his final act.

Carol wrote to Ryan’s four transplant recipients shortly after his passing. Just a few months later, on Christmas Eve, she received a letter from Ryan’s liver recipient, Abdul-Kareem Salahuddin, a devout Muslim grateful for his second chance.

“She and Ryan are tremendous heroes to me,” said Kareem, whose transplant has allowed him to enjoy life with his family.

Carol and Kareem continued to correspond, then spoke by phone for the first time on Christmas Eve 2015 and became close friends. This woman and man of different faiths are now one family blessed to be joined by Ryan’s life-saving legacy.

“Whether you call him God or Jehovah or Allah, it’s all God and can bring anyone together,” said Carol.

She encourages other families to support donation despite the pain of losing a loved one, saying, “Take a moment to think about how in the midst of your pain you can bring some sense of joy to the situation.” 

For more on Carol and Kareem’s story of faith, family and Ryan’s life-saving legacy, listen to the following podcast with Cherri Gregg, Community Affairs Reporter at KYW Newsradio by clicking here.

Consider saying YES to saving lives. Register to be an organ donor today.


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