My brother, Robert “Robbie” Vanderhei always had a great heart. He was always kind to people and even as children he was always my protector. He was born on 1-26-86 and was a year younger than me. But somehow when an entertainment stand fell on me he held it up so I could get out and go get my mom. He also pushed me out of the way when a motorist very nearly ran me over on my bike. Robbie was a fun brother to grow up and it breaks my heart to know he is no longer with us. Robbie was pronounced brain dead on 6-1-21 in Zephyrhills, Florida where we live. On 6-2-21 Robbie donated his lungs and heart to a young man in Alabama. I am adding this testimonial to honor my brother and to encourage people to become organ donors. I am very proud that in death Robbie was able to help another person just like he did for me when we were kids. A young man in Alabama needed a heart and lungs and my father knew my brother would do anything to help someone in need. My family lost Robbie that day and it was one of the worst days of my life! However for the man in Alabama it was one of the best days in life for his family, friends and himself. They got the gift they were probably waiting a very long time to receive. To this young man I want you to know that our thoughts and prays are with you and we wish you a speedy recovery and normal, long life. I take great comfort knowing Robbie gave this gift to another family he didn’t even know. He was not able to consent to this in the end but our family knows we honored his wishes. The young man in Alabama has also gave our family a gift as well. The gift of knowing Robbie’s heart is still out there beating and his lungs still breathing! Also the gift of knowing this young man has a great chance at life and my brother’s final act of love was to help someone, like he always did. I hope everyone considers donating their organs because it is how to save a life and often more than one life. If everyone thought about it as their loved one can no longer use their organs but, they may save another family or many families from going through the same thing that they have been going through then I think a lot more people would be willing to donate. Also god forbid someone in your family was hooked up to machines awaiting an organ donation, wouldn’t you be so grateful that there are donors out there. I love and miss you Robbie with all of my heart.
Love your sister Crystal.
P.S. The whole family is very very proud of you and we feel you in our hearts. We will keep your memory alive forever, in the stories I pass down to your nephew, the pictures we have all over our homes, the things we see that remind us of you and your beautiful soul that is unforgettable.