Family of Conway officer killed on duty gets to see him live on through organ donation
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - Two families are brought together, joined by a donated kidney. The gift of life for a 16 year-old girl in kidney failure unfortunately came with the untimely death of a Conway Police officer. On Sunday the two families finally met.
Just 26 years old, Officer William McGary was killed while directing traffic around an accident in Conway when an intoxicated driver hit the rookie police officer. McGary was an organ donor and just after he passed his heart and two kidneys were harvested to give life to three different people.
The Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency facilitated the transplantation and following the transplants, McGary's family received word of who his organs went to. McGary's mother, Tanya McGary, felt it necessary to reach out to each of the recipients.
"It was important for me to write and share with them who Will was," said McGary.
One of the recipients was Brianna Watts, a 16 year-old girl from Van Buren, who was in kidney failure - restricted to a wheelchair after her illness started attacking her nerves. Watts received one of those letters from McGary and she wrote back - a six page letter of her own talking about her health issues and what the kidney has done for her.
"I didn't want to go the rest of my life without knowing who saved me," said Watts.
After months the two families finally met at ARORA's Little Rock office. They shared pictures, stories of Will, McGary mentioning to Watts, "you can ask us anything you want to know."
When Watts started to read the eulogy read at Officer McGary's funeral, the service McGary's mother says over 4,000 people attended, Watts began to cry. Her cry was a chain reaction, setting off both families.
"I think he was a very caring person and kind," said Watts from what she gathered from hearing his family tell stories. "He loved to help others."
Watts hit it home saying McGary loved to help others; it's exactly what he was doing that fateful night in February and what he's done after his death helping people like Brianna Watts live on.
"We actually get to see hope," said McGary. "We get to see how Will's gift of life has changed someone's life and the quality of her life, giving her an opportunity to live life like he loved to live life."
The McGary's sent letters to the other two organ recipients that got Will's heart and other kidney. They say they hope to hear from those two soon.