Family finds comfort in knowing daughter’s death saved 3 lives

Staff writerJune 29, 2012 

  • Want to help? To contribute toward Tonya Weaver’s funeral expenses, contact Pastor Tony Medlin at Good’s Grove Missionary Baptist Church, 677 Hood Grove Church Road, Newton Grove, NC, 28366-9054 or call 919-284-4826.

— There are a lot of things Tonya Weaver’s family doesn’t know about her death.

They don’t know exactly how the 24-year-old mother of two fell from a moving truck on the night of June 22 in Four Oaks.

And, they don’t know how they are going to pay to have her remains cremated.

The one thing they do know, however, brings them comfort. Three people got a new shot at life as a result of her untimely death.

As an organ donor, Weaver’s heart, liver, and kidneys went to separate recipients, three of 114,000 people nationwide waiting and hoping for their second chance, according to Carolina Donor Services in Durham.

“She saved lives and that means a lot to me,” said her father, Ricky Weaver. “It makes me feel a lot better.”

Weaver, mother of a 2-year-old son and a 5-year-old daughter, was riding with her fiancé Charles Pitman Jr. last weekend in her father’s truck. While traveling west on Spring Lake Road, Weaver exited the white 1993 Ford pickup through the passenger door.

Pitman, 28, was charged with driving while intoxicated. State Highway Patrol determined that Tonya Weaver had jumped from the truck, but ruled her death an accident. Blunt-force impact to her head left her brain-dead at the scene, her parents said.

“She didn’t want to die,” said Carolyn Larrison, Weaver’s mother. “If she made the decision to jump, she didn’t know it was going to end her life.”

Larrison said her daughter, who grew up in Smithfield, was working to take care of her parents, both on disability, as well as her ailing grandmother.

“She just glowed. She was the inspiration to everybody. If something went wrong she tried to pull it all together,” Larrison said. “She loved being with everybody, and being peaceful and happy.”

Larrison said the family is close-knit. Though divorced from Tonya’s father, she lived around the corner from where Tonya and Ricky Weaver lived until a March 26 house fire forced a temporary move to Smithfield. Tonya is one of four children Larrison had with Weaver, and she’s had four since, but even half-sisters were close to Tonya, she said.

Ricky Weaver said the family didn’t have the $1,200 to bury his daughter, so has been scrambling to find a way to pay for her cremation.

“We don’t have the money,” said Weaver, who has had his right leg amputated as a result of cardiovascular disease. “I don’t know how I’m going to do it.”

But because of her death, some people in dire need have a new chance to live.

Carolina Donor Services spokeswoman Dawn Hall stressed the importance of being an organ donor. North Carolina has 3,600 people on organ wait lists – a heavy majority waiting for kidneys. About 18 people nationally die on the waiting list each day, she said.

“Donors are true heroes who give those on the waiting list a second chance at life,” Hall said. “The need is critical.”

Hall also aimed to dispel some myths – age or medical conditions excluding donors or that a doctor might not try as hard to save an organ donor’s life. She hoped more people would register and potentially put a faint, life-saving silver-lining on what would otherwise be purely tragedy.

“(Tonya) had a good heart. She was just a little hard-headed at times, but she was just a good daughter,” Ricky Weaver said. “It helps me to know someone else is going to live because of her.”

Jahner: 919-829-4822

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