The gift of life

Gunshot victim touched six lives thanks to her decision to be an organ donor

Only Ellè Kelly’s body was 13. Her spirit was far too wise, thoughtful and loving to be that young.


After learning more than a year ago that another young Harlem girl had died of a gunshot wound, Ellè told her mother of her wish to be an organ donor.

“She said that if anything ever happened, she would want someone else to live on, because there would be no reason burying something that another child could use,” Lowe told The Chronicle’s Tom Corwin. “It was just something she cared a lot about. It was something she believed in.”

Young Ellè’s words were tragically prophetic. She, too, died of a gunshot wound last week, after a friend was playing with a loaded handgun.

Her mother Cynthia Lowe’s grief is unimaginable and indescribable. The loss of any child is. But Ellè seems now, to those of us who weren’t privileged to know her, to be a particular loss. Thanks to our colleague’s telling us about her, and her mother’s willingness to share her story, we now know Ellè was unusually engaging and talented and had such a clear and exciting vision for
her life – of learning Japanese and perhaps
working in that country as a graphic artist in
the home of the anime art she cherished and flourished at.

Instead, she is bringing life to others as an organ donor. We’re told pieces of Ellè have been shared with six other children, no doubt enhancing, lengthening and even saving lives.

All because she was inspired to do so by the equally tragic death of 14-year-old Alana May Calahan.

Ellè’s choice, and her family’s decision to honor it, brings added meaning and eternal significance to both these young ladies’ lives. They will never be forgotten.

May they inspire others to share the gift of life.


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