High school sophomore Lauren Raym left home about 7 p.m. Monday, planning to make valentines at a friend's house.
Instead, her car left Apex Barbecue Road, hit a utility pole and a bridge rail, and flipped into a creek.
Lauren, 16, died the next day.
But her kindness will live on. Lauren was a teenage organ donor, and her pancreas, kidneys, heart valves and liver were harvested shortly after her death.
Those who knew Lauren, an athlete and honor roll student at Apex High School, said her donation exemplified how she lived.
"She was always a helper," said Beverly Lineberger, Lauren's volleyball coach at Apex High School. "And even now that she's passed, she's still helping."
Becoming an organ donor is not a topic most teens talk about, nor is it something they often consider when racing into a Division of Motor Vehicles office to get a license. Organ donors ages 11 to 17 accounted for about 10 percent of the 2,511 organs donated in North Carolina between 1988 and 2005, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.
However, when Lauren got her driver's license last fall, she specifically spoke about organ donation, said Teresa Moylan, her mother.
Moylan said she could sense that Lauren's prognosis was not good when she saw her daughter in the intensive care unit Monday night after the accident. At first, Moylan was angry. She wondered why doctors had fought to keep Lauren's heart going despite the fact that her daughter was most likely brain dead.
Then, it dawned on her.
"I'm losing my daughter, but she's going to possibly give life to six other people," Moylan said. "Now, our prayer as a family is that these six people can live."
Two people will receive portions of Lauren's liver, and two others will get her kidneys. Her heart valves may help several recipients.
At Apex High School, people knew Lauren as an athlete who, with her long blond hair and a dazzling smile, possessed both beauty and brains. But when asked about Lauren, the first thing people recalled was her kindness.
"She was a very sweet young lady," said Bonnie Hodge, her softball coach. "She would do anything for you."
When teammates had a bad day at school, it was Lauren who would try to cheer them up with a smile or a hug. And during practice, if the volleyball team needed encouragement to keep going, she helped push her teammates to new limits.
"Lauren played an integral part on that JV team," Lineberger said. "She had to be a leader on that team whether she was on the court or not."
And, perhaps most important, Lauren had a spirit that allowed her to live each day with a smile on her face and cheer in her heart.
"She had qualities as a 16-year-old that I wish I had had at 30," Moylan said. "She was always compassionate and always pleasant."
Staff writer Jennifer Brevorka can be reached at 836-4906 or email@example.com.