THE HEART OF A TIGER: LSU and Auburn fans meet to honor heart donation

THE HEART OF A TIGER: LSU and Auburn fans meet to honor heart donation

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - When LSU and Auburn take the field Saturday, Oct. 26, in the stands will be two families that are tied together through a tragic, yet amazing story of sacrifice and life.

Tucker and Amanda Boswell live in Alabama and are Auburn fans. Just six months after their son, Davis, was born, his heart started to give up. Davis suffered from a virus that settled in his heart.

At 6-months-old in Alabama, Davis Boswell suffered from a virus that affected his heart. He laid in a hospital bed for five months awaiting a heart transplant.
At 6-months-old in Alabama, Davis Boswell suffered from a virus that affected his heart. He laid in a hospital bed for five months awaiting a heart transplant. (Source: Boswell family)

“This caused the left side of his heart to quit functioning,” Amanda said. “The doctors told us the only thing that would save his life was a heart transplant.”

A few hundred miles away in Baton Rouge, Jonathan and Holley Perry’s son, John Clarke, was diagnosed with a brain bleed after a brief illness. John Clarke was only 6-months-old and would not survive. His parents were faced with the decision of whether or not to donate his organs.

After fighting the illness, the Perrys were faced with donating the organs of their son who passed away. The Perrys say it was not much of a decision as Holley wanted John Clarke’s heart to be donated.
After fighting the illness, the Perrys were faced with donating the organs of their son who passed away. The Perrys say it was not much of a decision as Holley wanted John Clarke’s heart to be donated. (Source: Perry family)

“My wife and I never really thought about organ donation,” Jonathan said. “My wife immediately said yes and really wanted his heart to go to somebody and so we went with the organ donation not knowing where we were going from there.”

The heart ended up in Birmingham at Children’s. It was a perfect match for Davis.

“I can’t explain it,” Tucker said. “It’s incredible that something you’ve been waiting for five months, life and death are about to happen.”

Since then, the two families have kept in touch. They meet every year for the Tiger Bowl to see how Davis is doing.

Now 4-years-old, Davis Boswell acts as if he never had a heart transplant. His parents say he's finishing up his first year of playing soccer and enjoys playing sports with his brother in the backyard of their Alabama home.
Now 4-years-old, Davis Boswell acts as if he never had a heart transplant. His parents say he's finishing up his first year of playing soccer and enjoys playing sports with his brother in the backyard of their Alabama home. (Source: Boswell family)

“You would never know he just had a heart transplant,” Jonathan said. “He runs around, he’s active, he plays soccer, and there’s a unique connection with him and our family. He runs up to us and hugs on us and has since he was a year old.”

On Friday, Oct. 25 before the game, the families met at Our Lady of the Lake’s new children’s hospital for a dedication ceremony for a new touchscreen wall that tells the stories of organ donors and recipients. Included on the wall are Davis and John Clarke.

“What a wonderful way to honor the donor and the gift that that is, you know,” Amanda said. “There are no words that we can use to thank them or express what it is that we feel in our hearts, so this is just a wonderful way to honor John Clarke, honor other donors and the legacy they leave behind.”

For the Perrys, this wall is a way to let their son’s legacy live on and renew their focus on honoring his name.

“Our mission is two things: it’s organ donation and the John Clarke Perry Foundation and through that, we’re able to help kids get life saving medical equipment.” Jonathan said. “Through that, we’ve given away almost $30,000 since we started, and our mission one day is to cover somebody’s entire hospital stay.”

At the game Saturday, the two families are hoping you will take part in a friendly competition. The goal is to get as many people as possible to sign up to be an organ donor.

To sign up to participate, click here.

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