LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Three hundred and twenty-five lives.
That’s how many people have been impacted by a Lincoln man’s gift of organ and tissue donation. His legacy now lives on all across the country.
From California, Georgia to Pennsylvania, hundreds are now living their lives to the fullest because of 29-year-old Toby Arneson.
“Toby was our youngest and he loved animals. He was always willing to help out everybody and so forth,” Bill Arneson, Toby’s father said.
It’s been nearly five years since Toby passed away, but his father still recounts that night like it was yesterday.
In May of 2017, while working as a custodian at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Toby passed out. It was a tumor, that nobody knew about.
The tumor had grown large enough that, at that moment, it pinched off blood supply to his brain.
“We got a call at 3 o’clock in the morning to come to the hospital,” Bill said. “They did enough testing that there was no brain activity and so forth, and I remember that’s when the organ donation people started talking to us and letting us know there was a way, a way that he could help.”
And that’s exactly what Toby did.
He has now saved and healed 325 people across the country because of his organ and tissue donation, something his parents couldn’t be more proud of.
“He didn’t get to do a lot of things because he went so young, but helping all these 300 some individuals, that’s, not everyone can do that,” Bill said.
Toby’s donation has kept his memory and legacy alive.
“He had a good strong heart, and that’s keeping someone else going. Or his lungs, helping that little girl with her breathing,” Bill said.
Bill is now a donor himself as a way to honor his late son. He hopes by sharing Toby’s story, others will consider it, too.
“You never know when it’s going to happen. That call in the middle of the night, or in an instant something’s going to happen,” Bill said. “So you should plan for how you can help with organ donation. You don’t think it’s ever going to happen to you, but it does.”
April marks Donate Life Month in the United States.
For more information on becoming a donor, head to Live On Nebraska.