By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
Melesia Day was KILLED
by the father of her child more than a year ago, but the 20-year-old lives on through the organs she donated to three people, including an aunt who was diagnosed with lupus.
Day, by all accounts, was a happy young woman who enjoyed life and spending time with her 2-year-old daughter. That all came to an end a year ago today — June 23, 2011 — when police found the young mother lying on the floor of her Tyrell Avenue home with a gunshot wound to the neck. Standing over her was her boyfriend, 21-year-old Patrell Scott.
Scott claimed the shooting was accidental. He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and faces up to 11 years in prison. He will be sentenced Aug. 8 in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
Day fought to stay alive for several days before her mother, Melissa Floyd, consented to take her off life support. Floyd then had to make another crucial decision: whether to allow her daughter’s organs to be taken for transplant.
Day’s aunt, 39-year-old Tessia Day, was diagnosed with systemic lupus in 2003 after a kidney biopsy. Tessia Day’s doctors tried to get her kidneys back to proper function, but all attempts failed.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue, according to the Medical News Today website.
“The lupus progressed,” Tessia Day said. “It goes through stages from stage one through stage five, and I was at stage five. My kidney function just began to decrease even more.”
Tessia Day was placed on the organ-donation list for a new kidney in 2011, mere months before her niece was murdered. The wait for a kidney is usually between three and five years, but Floyd and members of her family decided to turn a family tragedy into a life-saving opportunity.
Floyd consented to allow Melesia Day’s kidney to be given to her aunt.
“I know that is what Melesia would have wanted,” Floyd said.
The death and transplant were not the only stress factors for the Day and Floyd families. Tessia Day’s sister, Theresa Williams, who also suffers from a form of lupus, went into shock around the time she learned of her niece’s death.
Williams was taken into emergency surgery the same day Tessia Day was taken into the hospital for transplant preparation. Williams survived the ordeal and is fine now.
Tessia Day also has survived and is thriving with the gift given to her in the wake of her niece’s death. She takes 29 pills a day and has to watch what she eats and her daily activities, but she is grateful to be alive.
“I am saddened by this entire situation with my niece,” Tessia said. “I would rather be on dialysis and have her here. She should be here to raise her daughter, but I am happy to have a second chance at life. I always tell people my niece did not die in vain from this senseless act. I am grateful to my niece’s mother for giving me this chance.”
Melesia well may have been instrumental in saving other lives as well. Her organs also went to three other people, including a man who had been waiting for a kidney for several years.
“If you are able to be an organ donor, don’t hesitate to put that on your driver’s license. That is the best gift you can give,” Tessia Day said.
Tessia Day said with the transplant she knows her niece’s legacy will carry on and she is rewarded by God.
“I really feel like my niece is looking down at us, and God is saying to her, ‘Well done my faithful servant, well done,’” she said.