Organ Donors: Wall of Life
Rodney L. Walton
Nicole Walton, wife of Rodney Walton
Rodney L. Walton, Donor
Rodney Walton was a mild-mannered man with a laidback personality. He enjoyed watching NASCAR races and Animal Planet, cooking on the grill, deep sea fishing and listening to old-school music. The Dorman High School graduate was a band member of the Dorman Marching Cavaliers while he was a student there.
Rodney’s wife, Nicole, says that they both had always checked “yes” on their drivers’ licenses when asked if they wished to be organ and tissue donors. It was something that Rodney believed in doing, because he always wanted to help others during his life. On August 31, 2011, Rodney passed away unexpectedly at the age of 36 and became a tissue and heart valve donor.
He left behind a loving family that included his twin children, Raven and Rodney, II.
“I’m so happy that my husband’s gifts not only improved the lives of others, but possibly saved lives as well,” Nicole said.
Lou Peacock, mother of Ryan Harrill
Ryan Harrill, Donor
Ryan Harrill was a kind, caring and giving person. He was very funny and had a smile that could light up a room. He enjoyed swimming and riding his jet ski.
He went to Spartanburg Community College, where he received a degree in the Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning program. He made the Dean’s List there every semester that he attended.
He loved his family and had a special fondness for his four nieces.
When he became a donor at the age of 30, he saved four lives with the donation of his heart, kidneys and liver. He enhanced the lives of countless others with his tissue donation.
“Ryan was always giving to anyone who needed his help,” his mother Lou Peacock said “In his death, he helped save the lives of many people he didn’t know. My son was a hero.”
Ronnie David Bailey
Lori Whitlock, daughter of Ronnie Bailey
Ronnie David Bailey, Donor
Ronnie Bailey became a donor at the age of 33 in 1985, long before donation and transplantation were a topic of discussion among most people. However, his mother didn’t hesitate when she was approached about his becoming a donor, because she knew that’s what he would have wanted. Ronnie always had a giving nature and continually looked for ways to help others.
When he was killed in a car accident involving a train in 1985, he saved and enhanced countless lives as an organ, eye and tissue donor, as he was able to donate his liver, kidneys, corneas, bone and tissue.
Ronnie left behind a devoted family, which included his mother, four children and seven siblings. He loved to fish, visit the beach, ride his motorcycle and play in the snow with his Jeep. He was a true Southern gentleman who never said an unkind word about anybody.
Ronnie’s daughter, Lori Whitlock, was eight years old when her father died. She now works at Spartanburg Medical Center as a registered nurse in the Neuro-Trauma ICU.
“My dad’s death was not the end,” she said. “Instead, it was the beginning for so many others. Someone can now see and others can live without dialysis because of him. Donation is not about death; it’s about life.”
Benjamin "Benji" Jolley
Dennis and Midge Jolley, parents of Benjamin Jolley
Benjamin "Benji" Jolley, Donor
On June 8, 1994, Midge Jolley received a phone call that would change her life forever. Her 15-year-old son, Benji, had been accidentally shot. After the Jolley family arrived at Spartanburg Medical Center, doctors told them that Benji was brain dead.
Midge remembered watching Benji’s favorite TV show, Rescue 911, with him just three weeks previously. It was an episode that featured a family’s decision to donate their young daughter’s organs. Midge recalled that Benji, with tears in his eyes, turned and said to her, “If anything ever happens to me, I want to make sure my organs go to people who need them.”
Benji got his wish. His right kidney was a match for a man in Pennsylvania. His other donated organs – heart, lungs, liver, left kidney and pancreas—went to patients in South Carolina. Knowing so many people benefited from their son’s “gifts of life” has made a huge impact on the Jolley family.
“Benji was so full of life and it’s such a comfort to know that his legacy lives on in the lives of others,” Midge said.
Benji had just finished the ninth grade and would have been a sophomore at Gaffney High School. He loved four-wheelers, lifting weights and listening to music. One of his special joys was working on the family peach farm with his father, Dennis. He also enjoyed pestering his older sister, Heather.
“Everyone needs to think about this now and tell your family members what your wishes are today,” she said. “If Benji had not told me how he felt, this would have been a much harder decision.”
Becki Genobles, mother of Jared Davis
Jared Davis, Donor
Words used to describe Jared Davis include soft-spoken, kind, humble and generous. A talented guitarist who loved music, he also liked playing video games and spending time with his family and friends. He was an aquatic sports enthusiast, spending much time boating, tubing, skiing and fishing. In fact, he enjoyed being around water so much that he aspired to one day become an underwater welder.
When Jared passed away suddenly in December 2012 at the age of 24, he became both an organ and tissue donor. He saved the lives of five people through organ donation and enhanced the lives of countless others through his tissue donation. Jared’s mother, Becki Genobles, made the decision for him to become a donor.
“There could have been no other choice for my loving, unselfish son. His gifts of life were his unconditional expression of love,” she said. “Today I know a part of Jared lives on. It’s healing and comforting to know his tragic death wasn’t in vain. My son is forever my hero.”