Stories of Hope: Scott Santana

Scott Santana - organ eye and tissue donor - photo credit Julianne Bonner

Sidney “Scott” Santana was a young man who loved everyone and was loved by many in return. He was the kind of teenager who always thought about others in an era when that doesn’t always happen. Scott took the time daily to let his friends, family, teachers and coworkers know he loved them. One of Scott’s classmates writes this about him, “Scott, you made me smile. On one of the worst days I had at school, I was sitting alone outside class and you stopped to make sure I smiled before you continued on your way to wherever you were going… thank you so much…I’m sorry we never talked.” The big gestures were much less important to Scott than the small. He always had time for a hug, a smile, a goofy joke or to lend a helping hand.

So, when Scott died from a devastating brain injury following a car accident in May 2011 it was no surprise to anyone that he had registered to be an organ and tissue donor at the DMV. However, because Scott was only 17 when he died, his parents had the final decision about his organ and tissue donation. That decision was easier to make because they knew that Scott lived to help others.

On May 22, 2011, Scott became a hero to five families when he was able to donate his heart, lungs, kidneys, liver and pancreas. His gift of corneas gave sight to two people and his gift of tissues enhanced the lives of more than 50 people! Scott’s family takes great pride in telling his story and saying, “On the worst day of our lives, five other families were getting the best news of theirs!”

On January 1, 2013, Scott was honored, alongside 71 other generous donors, in the Rose Parade on the Donate Life Float. The theme of the float was “Journeys of the Heart” and aptly so since the Santana Family has been riding on that journey since Scott’s accident.

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