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Ever since the car accident that claimed Cory Adams' life in 2011, his parents have invested much of their time in keeping his memory alive.
Scott and Krista Adams of Poynette, Wis., have connected with several of the people who received his organs. For them, it's not just about meeting the recipients, but also about welcoming them as part of their permanent family.
"In our healing journey, it's been really helpful to know that people are living on because of Cory," said Krista, Cory's step-mom. "They are our silver lining."
The Adamses have met all four of the people who received organs from Cory and had the chance to tell them more about their son - a prankster who loved to skateboard, fish and snowboard and left behind a wife and daughter, who is now 6.
We've seen firsthand how organ donation was such a great gift to Cory's recipients. By promoting organ donation, we are keeping his memory alive.
They have become particularly close with Debbie Bohman, who received Cory's lungs. Since first meeting Debbie and her husband, Pat, the two families have made a point of getting together every Christmas and several other times throughout the year. They even went on a vacation together to Washington, D.C. "Our family got smaller when we lost Cory, but in another respect, it got bigger," Krista said.
Krista was especially touched to meet Debbie's parents, who had lost two of Debbie's siblings. "I thought, 'My gosh, they had gone through this twice, and were facing having to go through it a third time,' " Krista said. "I was so happy that we were able to spare them that by choosing to donate Cory's organs."
The Adamses have told their story at UW Organ and Tissue Donation (UW OTD) events and workshops and participated in the National Kidney Foundation of Wisconsin's Capital City 5K Run/Walk in Madison nearly every summer since losing Cory.
Last summer, they sponsored their own Cory Adams Memorial Run/Walk in their hometown of Poynette to coincide with a local festival, and donated some of the proceeds to UW OTD. The Bohmans, of course, were in attendance.
"We've seen firsthand how organ donation was such a great gift to Cory's recipients," Krista said. "By promoting organ donation, we are keeping his memory alive."