May 21, 2024

Healt Hid

Because health is very important to us

Keokuk man’s organ donation helps others live on

2 min read

Nathan Bowden of Keokuk was 20 years old when he died in a car crash in 2009.

Nathan had agreed to be an organ and tissue donor, which was indicated on his Iowa driver’s license. Those donations have gone on to save 17 lives, and are now remembered on a plaque that hangs in the South Lee County Courthouse.

“The goal of these plaques is that people will see someone that is actually from their community, whether they know him personally or not, they will better connect to donation,” said Heather Butterfield, Communications for Director of the Iowa Donor Network.

“They will see that someone in their community was personally impacted and had the ability to transform lives through donation.”

The plaque hangs outside the Department of Motor Vehicles office in the courthouse.

The Iowa Donor Network unveiled the plaque during a ceremony on May 3 before a gathering of Bowden’s family and friends.

Peggy Peterson nominated Nathan for the plaque program. She is records clerk in the Lee County Treasurer’s Office and her son was friends with Nathan.

Bowden’s parents, Becky and Jim Bowden, thanked the network for commemorating their son’s memory. They hoped that their son’s donations will encourage others will choose to become organ and tissue donors.

“It’s very heart-warming,” Becky Bowden said. “It’s such an honor to have our son continue to live on with so many people.”

This is the 20th plaque to be hung across the state since the Iowa Donor Network started program with the Iowa Department of Transportation in 2020.

Butterfield hopes the plaques inspire more people to become organ donors.

“When they see stories like this, we know for a fact that people are more likely to say ‘yes,’” she said.

“We’re hoping that people will come, and while they’re waiting here, they will see the story, they will read the plaque, and then when they ask that question, ‘Do you want to be an organ donor?’”

Butterfield said that of the 1.6 million Iowans who are currently registered organ and tissue donors, 97 percent of them have registered while getting their driver’s license.

Iowa residents wanting to become an organ and tissue donor can register when they receive or renew their driver’s, hunting, fishing or harvester licenses through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

State residents can also register on the Iowa Donor Networkwebsite, and anyone can sign up on the National Donate Life Registry website.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR’s news department please consider making a financial contribution.


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