Woman holding a photo of her son who died and donated his organ

Young man’s death gives life to others

At just 17, Zachary Moore had a promising life ahead of him. He was a caring young man who was beloved by many and known for encouraging friends and offering a helping hand. Then tragedy struck in the form of a terrible car accident close to the holidays. Zachary died within days of the wreck leaving family and friends stunned and mourning. 

In tragedy, sometimes survivors find comfort. Zachary’s mother, Sherri Bowden Moore, discovered that her son had signed up to be an organ donor. While she and Zac had talked about organ donation before he filled out paperwork for his driver’s license, Moore was unaware that he had made the decision to be a donor.

Discovering that he would save the lives of others through his decision gave Moore a sense of peace. 

“I was proud of him,” she said.   

Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System coordinated the donation process and patients in South Carolina and Pennsylvania received life-saving organs. A 22-year-old man in South Carolina – only a few years older than Zac – received his heart. For these patients, Zac’s tragedy became their second chance at life.   

In 2017, an organ donation fund was established by the Spartanburg Regional Foundation. Shonna Bible, clinical liaison at Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System for organ, eye and tissue donation said it’s an area of critical need.

“The national waiting list for organ transplants is around 120,000 people,” Bible said.

Spartanburg Regional works with Sharing Hope SC, a statewide, federally regulated organization. A counselor with Sharing Hope worked with Zac’s family to talk through the process and answer questions.

“Our counselor was fabulous,” Moore said. “He made the experience a healing one for our family.” 

At her home in Boiling Springs, SC, Moore keeps items on hand that exemplify the way her son lived.

Zac was an avid collector of athletic sneakers, and his younger brother, Aaron, keeps a display of shoes Zac collected in his honor. 

There’s also a photograph of Zac in a small-engine airplane. He had begun taking flying lessons and was considering becoming a pilot. His friends signed the picture frame at his funeral visitation.

Zac loved sports and the arts. He took courses at Swofford Career Center, where he excelled in automotive technology.

“Throughout his life, he got involved in about everything you could think of,” his mother said.

Zac’s family is grappling with a profound loss – but the donation of his organs means a great deal, Moore said.

“I know it’s not all of him that is continuing on, but parts of his body are continuing on in others and giving them the chance to live.”

April is National Donate Life Month, and Spartanburg Regional Foundation’s Organ, Tissue, and Eye Donation Fund supports awareness programs throughout the year.

Organ Donation Month events

April 13 – “Blue & Green Day”: SRHS staff will wear organ donation T-shirts and speak with visitors and associates about how to register as an organ donor. 

April 25 – The first Compassionate Care class will be held to share education with Critical Care and emergency nursing staff for helping families deal with grief.

April 26 – A candlelight ceremony will take place from 7 to 8 p.m. at Liberty Park to honor those who have donated organs and families who have received organ donations.

Donate to the Organ, Tissue, and Eye Donation Fund.