BUFFALO, N.Y. - The family of Aaron Dailey is trying to comprehend his death at the young age of 20. As they grieve, there is a strong warning and message of hope being sent to other families touched by the impact of drugs, but more importantly they consider Dailey a hero for wanting his organs donated.
Rachel Palumbo-Atkinson can't help but remember the laughter and joy her younger brother brought to the family. "He was very special and I loved him very much," said his sister. "We all did."
Last Tuesday, the family believes Dailey suffered a seizure and fell. He hit his head which lead to a horrific brain injury. He died on Saturday. Palumbo-Atkinson says it's likely he had a seizure as a result of withdrawals from drugs. The family saus Dailey was prescribed an anti-anxiety medication which he may have overused. The seizure, the fall caused TBI and a major brain bleed that ultimately killed him.
"My younger brother began to dabble into prescription painkillers when he was 15 or 16," said his sister, who helped to get him into rehab.
She is a member of the Opiate Task Force at Erie County Medical Center (ECMC). This personal case has her sounding the alarm and sending a message to other families dealing with relatives who use drugs, especially synthetic marijuana. "If you know somebody that's doing it speak up, because they could lose their life and it's not just their life, that's lost, it's every single person's life they've touched that ends up missing a piece in their heart because they're gone."
The family has experienced much loss. Earlier this year their mother died.
Several of Aaron's organs were donated, including his kidneys, heart and liver. PalumboAtkinson learned that her brother's kidneys went to two 47-year old males. His heart went to a 68-year-old man in Connecticut and his liver went to a 59-year old male.
"The donation gives me an overwhelming sense of pride, and thankfulness and I'm just so happy that he was able to make such a mature decision at such an early age," said Palumbo-Atkinson.
Click here to see the family' GoFundMe account to help with funeral expenses.