From Tragedy to a Shining Beacon

This past week Rowan Stringer who played rugby with my daughter died in a tragic incident during a high school rugby game. The incident left Rowan with brain trauma, which could not be controlled and she died this past weekend.

Rowan Stringer

Rowan Stringer

This tragedy has touched my family deeply, as my wife was Rowan’s Rugby manager and my daughter played club rugby with Rowan last season . It has also left me with many questions and, as usual, not many answers. It is never easy to really understand how a healthy, happy and beautiful teenager can simply be gone so suddenly.

Rowan was a leader in her school (Rugby Team Captain, and Mentor for other Students), a Volunteer at CHEO,  she had a part-time job , and had many more things going on. When she got her driver’s license she signed her donor card right away and made a point of telling her parents of her wishes if something should ever happen to her.

From this tragedy her parents honored her wish that her organs be donated, so others might live. This final gift from a special young woman will hopefully help many people live on thanks to her gift.  Her Parents strength during this time astounds me, they have already spoken publicly and are planning on continuing to do so in the future (in support of Organ Donation).

I have spoken before about the importance of donating your blood, but remember also that donating your organs may help others more than you will ever dream.

The two important points that I hope come out of this sad event are:

  1.  The importance of all sports monitoring head injuries of young players. No final cause of death has been established (as of me writing) or if previous head trauma might have contributed to Rowan’s death, but it is important for Parents, Coaches and Friends of young Athletes to help them help themselves (letting them play after head trauma can lead to very bad consequences).
  2. Rowan’s heart beats in someone else’s chest right now, her lungs breathe air for someone else, her kidneys are in two separate folks, her corneas help others see so she will not only live on in the hearts of her family and friends but for those lucky few who owe her a great gratitude. Sign your donor card.

To her Parents, many Friends and Teammates I offer my humblest of condolences.


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