TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - A Terre Haute mother is refusing to quit sharing her message of kindness even under the most difficult of circumstances.
“He's still my son. My son just lives in Heaven now."
Jayna Sullivan lost her son, Garrett Sands, to gun violence. She and the Garrett Sands Kindness Project marched in the Indiana State University Homecoming Parade Saturday morning.
Sullivan says she wanted to be in the parade to show people what the Kindness Project is all about and to spread awareness for organ and tissue donation. The group delivered joy to people along the parade route in the form of flowers. They also partnered with the Indiana Donor Network to pass out pins, bracelets and other items.
Sullivan says, even in death, her son was able to give one final gift.
"Tissue donation was Garrett's last act of kindness and it was the first phone call I made after I notified family because I knew that that's what he wanted and it was a priority to me to honor his last gift."
Sullivan wants to encourage parents to talk with their children about the potentially life-saving donation like she did with Garrett.
"When this happened to Garrett, I knew what his wishes were right away and it's a hard time to make a decision when tragedy strikes but if you know beforehand, you know what the wishes are and you can expedite that and get the process rolling."
Garrett's close friends carried a banner in the parade. They say it's a way they can share what Garrett means to them.
Cameron Frederick says, "The spirit that he's still here and that even though he's gone he's still here with all of us."
Sullivan says she continues to grieve for her child but she has hope.
Jayna Sullivan says, "We talk about Garrett a lot. He is still part of our life just like he was when he was here and I hope to bring more awareness to that, that just because somebody passes away that doesn't mean that they're gone forever. They live on in your heart."
If you would like more information about the Garrett Sands Kindness Project click here.
If you would like more information about the Indiana Donor Network click here.