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One Man’s Dying Act of Selflessness

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How One Organ Donor Saved the Lives of Many

face transplant featured

Source: Twitter @BBCWorld @BillyGoldfeder

“We live by the bike. We ride hard […] We own the streets. We are the streets,” said Al Lopez, owner of the Cannonball Couriers bike messenger company. This creed perfectly explained the life of David Rodebaugh, a young and dedicated bicyclist living in Brooklyn who died last summer.

Through his death, however, David would give several strangers a second chance at life.

Start the slideshow below to learn about the horribly injured fireman whose life would be forever changed through David’s death.

David’s Story

face transplant david rodebaugh

Source: Twitter @BillyGoldfeder

While getting ready to meet his girlfriend for dinner, Rodebaugh was biking through Brooklyn when a pedestrian walked out from between two cars. David hit the pedestrian and went flying off of his bike. He was not wearing a helmet, and a head injury sent him into immediate surgery. What would happen in the following hours would change David’s life forever, as well as those of several strangers he would never meet, although he would live on through them.

Though the initial bleeding in his brain was alleviated and Rodebaugh soon regained consciousness, more bleeding sent him into another coma, and he was declared brain-dead just a few weeks after his accident.

But even through his tragedy, David was able to save the lives of several others who he’d never met or even heard of. His selflessness has turned into one of the most beautiful stories I’ve read in a long time.

“And I sit here without identity: faceless. My head aches.” – Sylvia Plath

face transplant patrick hardison

Source: Twitter @BillyGoldfeder

Patrick Hardison was a small-town fireman from Mississippi who was living his own American dream until tragedy struck in 2001. At only 26 years of age, he had bought his dream home and moved in with his second wife and their three children. Only a short time later, he responded to a call that would change every aspect of his life.

Hardison and his fellow firefighters arrived to the scene of a burning mobile home that one of them described as “the worst fire I’ve ever seen.” Believing that there was still a woman trapped inside, Patrick searched the burning structure even as the roof collapsed around him. As he was on his way out, a part of the ceiling fell, knocking him down and setting his mask on fire. He pulled off the mask and was rescued from the mobile home, but his face was engulfed in flames and his body badly burnt. That’s when the woman they thought was stuck in the house returned from a fishing trip, totally unscathed.