Former Marine and Superman fanatic Chris Kmetz, 41, got one more chance to be a superhero after passing away on Saturday.
The father of two was driving home from his job as a Boeing analyst on February 23 when his car went off the road right before a sharp turn and flipped into a drainage pond. He passed away six days later.
Remembering her husband, Chris’ wife, Jackie, recalled just how Superman-obsessed he was. He had over 10,000 comic books, dressed like Superman every Halloween, and played superhero games with their children.
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Chris looked to Superman as the yardstick by which he would be measured. “Superman was his idol,” Jackie said, “and the epitome of what he wanted to be: a humble hero whose purpose was to better the world around him.” And he did just that. “Chris,” she said, “was known for having been someone who’d give the shirt off his back for anybody at any time. He’s a very selfless guy.”
Chris and Jackie met through their involvement in national autocross competitions with the Sports Car Club of America. Jackie was Chris’ car-racing teacher. When they first met, they noticed on each others’ driver’s licenses that they had both chosen to be organ donors and had a whole conversation about their passion for the importance of organ donation. Jackie said it just “clicked from there.”
When she knew that she would have to say goodbye to her husband, she told hospital staff that Chris would want to donate his organs. She then dressed him in his “Superdad” t-shirt and put their kids in Superman shirts to say goodbye.
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Just hours after his death, Chris’ kidneys went to two separate recipients. Jackie remarked on how much that would have meant to Chris, saying, “In true superhero fashion, Chris passed away, but he saved two lives after donating his kidneys.”
Now that Chris has passed, Jackie hopes his story will encourage others to become organ donors. According to Kevin O’Connor, president and CEO of LifeCenter Northwest, less than 1 percent of people who die in a hospital meet the criteria necessary for donating. Last year, only around 8,000 people met the specific medical standards.
You can register to become an organ donor online at Donate Life.
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