What Keith Crawford remembers most of his late daughter Brittany is her caring, fearless spirit and zeal for life. Her presence would light up a room, he said.
On April 1, 2012, Brittany was tragically killed at 20 years old in a car accident. Two days after Brittany’s death, the decision Crawford and his wife made to donate her organs saved the lives of four patients.
Although devastated by the loss of his daughter, Crawford saw that as an opportunity to help give other people a second chance at life.
“Her life ended tragically and we wanted her spirit to live. It was just an unselfish act,” said Crawford, a native of San Francisco.
“Just seeing the impact of how many lives we touched…I see Brittany in the people that have been given a second chance,” he said.
Since then, Crawford has become an ambassador for organ donation through the California Transplant Donor Network.
In September 2012, Crawford founded the Give Life, Save Life Foundation in memory of his daughter to raise awareness of the need for organ donation among the African American community. He speaks at numerous high schools, medical facilities, organizes community events and hosts a weekly radio show, Give Life, Save Life Radio to spread his message.
According to statistics, African Americans are the least likely group to become organ donors.
Currently, there are over 120,000 people in the U.S. on the waiting list for an organ transplant, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Of that number, 30 percent are African American.
These statistics also show that African Americans made up only 13.5 percent of organ donors last year.
Through education and awareness, Crawford hopes to increase those numbers and help save more lives.
“If one person could save four people’s lives, just imagine through awareness and education how many more lives could be saved,” he said.
In April, on the third anniversary of Brittany’s death, the foundation launched a billboard awareness campaign in San Francisco and parts of Oakland. Twelve billboards shared success stories of organ transplant recipients, patients still waiting for an organ transplant, and family members of deceased organ donors.
One billboard shows Crawford with the statement, “Our daughter Brittany saved four lives through organ donation.”
Another shows a photo of young Eriana Smith who is in need of a bone marrow transplant.
Crawford is organizing a fundraiser to help find a donor for Eriana.
For more information about the Give Life, Save Life Foundation, visit www.givelifesavelife.org.