9:30 a.m., Aug. 28)
of tragedy comes inspiration
Orléans man killed in Yellowknife
donates organs so that others may live
By Fred Sherwin
photo of Emerson Curran was provided to OrleansOnline
by the Curran family who like it not because
he looks so happy and strong .
all accounts, Emerson Curran was an extremely loyal and
generous young man who would do anything for those he
On Monday, the 20-year-old Orléans man who died
on Sunday due to injuries he suffered during an apparent
altercation at a house party in Yellowknife, did something
for several people he never knew -- he gave them the gift
year ago, Emerson was driving home with his mother after
visiting Trent Univesristy when he told her about his
philsophy of life and the hereafter. During the the conversation
he expressed his wish to donate his organs should something
ever happen to him. "Give it all." he told his
arriving at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton on
Sunday, Micheal learned that his son was essentially brain
dead with no chance of recovery. Later the same afternoon
he met with a woman from the Alberta organ donation group
Her name was Karen.
Michael agreed to donate his son's organs, Karen started
phoning organ donation groups and hospitals across Canada.
did this from a desk outside Em's room from 4 p.m. to
7 a.m. the next morning without taking a break,"
Curran wrote in an e-mail to OrleanOnline..
first, it seemed like only Emerson's heart would would
be unsuitable. When he hit his head during the altercation
in Yellowknife, it triggered a massive heart attack.
he was transported to hospital, the medical staff used
drugs and electronis stimuli to restart Emerson's heart
which was then deemed strong enough for donation.
gave me such joy," wrote Curran.
more good news came when a recipient was found for Emerson's
lungs who had no chance of survival without them. Recipients
were also found for Emerson's heart, liver, both kidneys
and his pancreas.
the ultimate gift of life, even in death, is a fitting
legacy for someone who was so loved by so many. In the
48 hours since his tragic passing, Facebook and Twitter
have been a blaze with tributes to the former St. Peter
High School student and football player.
common sentiment is that Emerson was a loyal friend, thoughful,
soft spoken, happy-go-lucky, kind, generous, and a gentle
soul. No one, not a single person who knew him, can fathom
how he ended up getting into an altercation that cost
him his life.
finishing his second year at the University of Ottawa
this past spring, he went to Yellowknife at the suggestion
of his cousin to work as a float plane dockhand for the
summer. By all accounts, he loved the job and the experience.
He was supposed to return to Ottawa on Sunday for his
third year at Ottawa U, but on Friday night he went to
a house party.
is known about what happened at the party. What is known
is that someone called 9-1-1 shortly after midnight about
an apparent fight and that someone had been seriously
hurt. The RCMP responded to the call and found Curran
in serious medical distress suffering from an apparent
head injury. He was rushed to the local hospital and then
airlifted to Edmonton on Saturday where he was kept in
a medically induced coma. He eventually succumbed to his
injuries on Sunday.
w as a successful student athlete at St. Peter High School
and graduated in June 2011. He has three younger siblings:
two brothers Liam and Graeme, and a sister Lauren. His
parents are both pillars of the community.
first started working at the Orleans Star in 1991 as a
reporter. He was later named editor before leaving the
Star in 1997 to help launch the Weekly Journal. He would
go on to become the editor of the Ottawa Business Journal
then publisher when the paper was purchased by Great River
Media of which he is president.
Curran, Emerson's mother, has volunteered for countless
community organizations, most notable the St. Peter School
Michael and Catrina went to St. Matthew High School. Their
loss is inconceivable.
says the one thing that has helped them endure the hell
of the past three days has been the knowledge that Emerson,
or Em as he's known to his family and friends, will be
able to help so many through organ donation.
part of this story is really the only thing sustaining
me right now," wrote Curran.
girlfriend Jillian Gummo, spoke to him just hours before
he went to the party. He told her he loved her and that
he could hardly wait to see her again when he returned
back to Ottawa. On Sunday, she received another phone
call informing her that he was in a medically induced
coma in an Edmonton hospital.
was uncomprehendable. You never expect the person you
talk to every single day to just be gone that quickly,"
a devastated Gummo told the CBC. "I know that he
can feel how much everyone loved him and how heartbroken
we are that he's gone."
leaving for Yellowknife, Emerson worked at the Farm Boy
store on Innes Road where he was a model employee according
to his store manager Rob Willis.
was) a smiling, happy, go-lucky guy. A lucky guy, a great
young guy with a future, genuinely excited about his opportunity
in Yellowknife and what he would learn and see from that
experience," says Willis.
all very upset here and very sad.
and prayers are definitely going to his family and his
Curran is expected to return home with his son's body
in the next few days. Details of the funeral arrangements,
or memorial service, have yet to be made public.
Emerson Curran in a recent picture with girlfriend
story was made possible thanks to their generous support
of our local business
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