Hello October and a new face in the LifeLink Faces of Transplantation Calendar. Meet the Welch Family.
As the eldest of five children, Jacquez was a role model for his younger siblings. Marcia, Jacquez’s mom, described him as the peacemaker of the family who always had a smile on his face. Jacquez began playing football in eighth grade and continued to do so as a student in high school. In the middle of a football game, tragedy struck and Jacquez collapsed on the field. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where doctors discovered that Jacquez suffered bleeding in his brain due to an undiagnosed condition called arteriovenous malformation, or AVM; a condition so rare that only 1% of the population is affected. Doctors told Marcia there was no way to prevent or predict such an event, and it could have affected Jacquez at any time. Jacquez had registered as an organ donor when he obtained his driver license, telling his mom, “I would love to be a donor one day if I can.” His family honored his decision and Jacquez saved seven lives through organ transplantation. His story touched many people, not only in his hometown, but all around the country. Marcia still mourns the loss of her eldest son, but focuses now on the Jacquez Welch Foundation created to bring heightened awareness to AVM and to provide scholarship funds for higher education. Marcia wants others to know that organ and tissue donation is a great thing. “We all have family members who may have health problems. Why not help someone if you can?”