2016 Transplant and Organ Donation Calendar: Joshua Richards
Joshua Richards loved to help people. He was a shy, but well-liked, child. He grew tall druing his high school years and began to play football and work with cars and engines.
He was well liked, and his mother, Jackie Pische, says he would have bent over backwards to help anyone. He went to school to become a diesel mechanic, played semi-pro football and started competitive body building. He was a blood donor, and it was no surprise to his mother that he registered to be an organ donor at age 16. "Helping others was just in his nature," says Jackie.
When Josh lost his life tragically at age 25, he continued to help others through his gift of organ and tissue donation. Jackie ensures that his desire to help others continues to live on through the Joshua Richards Foundation.
Through the Foundation, Jackie and Josh's friends work to promote organ donation and support their community. The Foundation carries on Josh's love of athletics by providing sports equipment to underserved children in the area. They raise money and awareness for organ donation at the foundation's annual golf outing and poker run. "This work has helped turn tragedy into hope," says Jackie.
Her hope is further strengthened by her friendship with Ben Adler, the recipient of Josh's heart, and Larry Hart, Josh's lung recipient. They have become like an extended family to Jackie and proudly support the foundation's annual golf outing. At his birthday party, Larry's grandson, Matthew Dickman, requested donations to support organ donation rather than gifts.
Through unthinkable tragedy, Jackie has found the courage to persevere and help others. "I want to be a better person because of him," says Jackie. "I want to help others understand how one person can touch so many other lives by being a donor."