Brenham family reunites with daughter’s tissue donation recipient

Hays

HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Molly Hammac was just 24 years old when she died in a tragic car crash in 2015. Her life was over, but four years later, she’s still having an impact on the world. 

An event held Sunday in Driftwood to honor the families of tissue donors allowed a recipient and her donor’s family to share their story of hope. 

Hammac became a tissue donor in October 2015 when she died in a car crash. She registered as an organ donor several years before. Upon her passing, her parents got a call from a representative with United Tissue Resources, an organization that works to connect potential tissue donors with recipients.

Tissue could include dental procedures, skin grafts and heart valve replacements.

The Hammac family quickly decided it was something they wanted to do on top of organ donation.

“Everything that could have possibly been used to better people’s lives, better their physical condition, she contributed to that and that’s been very comforting for us to know that in that way, not only spiritually does she still exist, but physically she also does too and she’s helped so many people,” Hammac’s dad, Tracy, said. 

Hammac’s donations have benefitted over 30 recipients since her death, including heart valves, corneas and skin. 

Shortly after that initial phone call with the organization, the Hammac’s received a heartwarming letter from a girl named Rachel Merrick, which Tracy said coincidentally was Molly’s middle name. 

“She thanked us for the gift of donation and sympathized with our loss and told us how Molly’s donation allowed her to maintain her passion, which was being a cheerleader at the collegiate level,” he said.

Merrick, who lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was a recipient of Molly’s tissue. In April 2016, she had knee surgery to repair a ligament that was damaged from years of cheerleading. The wear and tear had left her with pain and diminished mobility in her knee. The surgery allowed her to continue to pursue her dreams.

“It didn’t even save my life,” Merrick said. “Most people when they think of organ donation, they think of heart transplants or liver transplants and mine wasn’t anything like that, but it did give me back a huge part of my life, so advocating for that is something that is very important to me.”

She spoke to a room full of donor families and shared her gratefulness for Molly’s donation.

“I’d like to say that Molly didn’t just help me, she’s helped everybody that I’ve been able to touch since I got my gift from her and that’s something that I want all the donor families to know.” 

More than one million tissue transplants are performed annually, according to the United Tissue Resources. The organization’s representatives said one complete donor of organs, corneas and tissue can save or heal more than 75 people

“Not all the healing is done by the recipient, to have known her has been a tremendous source of comfort for my wife and me,” Hammac said. “This is a very unique occurrence for most people and we’re lucky to have that.”

For more information, or to register to be a tissue donor you can go to Donate Life Texas’ website. 

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