Family finally finds peace in teenage son's death

WEST KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WVLT) -- Parents should never have to outlive their children.

It's a painful experience for any mother, father and everyone around them.

But a Knoxville family is finding peace with their son's passing.

Tara Dyer says about her 18 year old son Andy, "He was a happy, energetic little boy we mainstreamed him, he did everything with us, he a had a lot of friends."

Andy Dyer loved life. He couldn't say it, but he could show it.

Tara says, "He wasn't verbal, but he was vocal, we think he could understand more than people would think he understood."

Andy lived with cerebral palsy.

In March 2011, he suffered a spontaneous brain bleed and died.

While mourning their son's sudden death, Tara and David Dyer were faced with a major decision.

David says, "The donor services lady came to Andy's room when they knew he was brain dead. She asked us about organ donation, and it was tough for us."

Over in Hendersonville, 65 year old Sandi York Buzard was dying of cirrhosis of the liver.

Sandi says, "You could have knocked me off the doctor's table. I never smoked, never drank, and never did any drugs."

Doctors told her the liver damage was caused by taking Tylenol.

Sandi was basically told she had seven days left to live if she didn't get a transplant.

But because of Andy Dyer and his family's selfless decision, Sandi, is alive.

"What a blessing it is for me and my family that I am able to live because of this family so generous that became donors for Andy," She said.

David Dyer explains, "It was the thing to do, Andy gave all his life, even in death."

And just recently, a year and a half after the liver transplant, the two families met.

They shared hugs and tears over Andy, pictures and stories of this special person who died, which allowed someone else to survive.

Sandi spoke with tears, "How do you say thank you to someone that I am alive? How do you say how grateful I am that I am living because of your loss?"

And among the heartbreak of losing Andy, is the Dyer's gaining Sandi.

Tara says, "Seems like we are always kind of sad, there's a piece of us missing. But, it helps knowing that Andy saved lives with organ donation. That's kind of what keeps us going."

Andy actually saved a total of four lives when he passed away, from his liver, heart and kidneys to his pancreas.

Just a few months ago, the Dyers also met the woman who received Andy's heart.

Now, they're hopeful to meet the remaining two people whose lives were saved by Andy.

18 people die each day waiting for an organ transplant.


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