Jamice Rollins remembers her second-born daughter Kenia as a friendly, popular teenager who loved to dance, do makeup and give fashion advice. Even though she struggled with depression and mental illness, she always had a kind word for others. “Kenia was the type of teenager who, if she had $50 and you needed $50, she’d give it to you without a second thought,” Jamice says. “She just gave, and gave, and gave.”
Despite her young age, Kenia struggled with her health, including experiencing breathing problems. “She had a lot going on at a young age,” Jamice says. “She struggled with breathing issues and depression for about three years. She hated being that kind of teenager; she didn’t feel normal.”
In March 2023, Kenia fainted and stopped breathing, leading to severe brain damage. Doctors did everything they could to understand what happened and bring Kenia back, but after being in a coma for two weeks, Kenia’s parents removed her from the ventilator. “There was no sign of life or activity,” Jamice says. “Her dad and I decided to release her.” Kenia’s parents made the courageous decision to donate her organs and give others a second chance at life.
“She never said to me that she wanted to donate her organs, but she’d say that a lot of people could live if other people donated their organs to help others,” Jamice says. “Knowing that, and knowing her organs could save someone else … I knew for a fact that it was something she would have wanted to do.”
On March 10, 2023, 18-year-old Kenia donated her kidneys, liver and heart valves to give the gift of life to others. “It was a comfort to us. The honor walk would’ve been a huge deal for her—to have all those people there for her, watching her get ready to give this gift of life to others—this huge sacrifice,” Jamice says. “It was more of an honor for her than it was for me and the people there watching her. It was very powerful.”
Though she grieves for her daughter, Jamice is proud of Kenia’s lifesaving gift. “At first, it was bittersweet, because in my mind, I was thinking that my child was gone and somebody else is going to live because of her,” she says. “But that was the main part that stood out—someone will live because of her gift.”
Now, Jamice encourages others to register as organ donors and share their decisions with their families. And, speaking from experience, she encourages families in her situation to honor their loved ones and what they would have wanted. “If they wanted to be an organ donor, do it—even if they never spoke about it,” she says. “Do it for them so that they can live on.”
Every 10 minutes, someone is added to the organ transplant waiting list.
Approximately 113,000 men, women, and children are waiting for life-saving organ transplants. One organ donor has the power to save up to eight lives and change the outcomes of someone’s world forever by giving them a second chance. Additionally, tissue donation can save and improve the lives of up to 75 people with their gifts. You can make a huge impact by registering as an organ and tissue donor.