Charee Alexander had plans for her life.
Charee Alexander had plans for her life. She was about to begin cosmetology school and looked forward to styling hair and doing makeup to support herself and her young daughter, Kyla. She even dreamed of being famous one day.
Those dreams were cut short on April 11, 2019, when Charee was stabbed during an altercation at a park in her hometown of Peoria. Charee died at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center two days later, but not before providing the gift of life to six people waiting for a life-saving organ.
As difficult as it was to lose her daughter, Sherrce McGee says the decision to donate Charee’s organs was an obvious choice.
“It was the right thing to do. There was nothing to think about or second guess,” Sherrce says. “I also did it because we are minorities and a lot of people in our culture don’t do it and we should.”
Charee is among the donors honored with a National Minority Donor Awareness Month banner along the Peoria riverfront on Water Street throughout August 2021.
Sherrce says her daughter had a way of bringing their family together. By donating her organs, Charee made it possible for six other families to make more memories with one another.
Charee’s right kidney saved a woman in her 50s, while her left kidney and pancreas went to a man of about the same age. A woman in her 40s is living a longer life thanks to the gift of Charee’s liver, and a woman in her 60s received Charee’s heart. Charee’s lungs are now drawing breath for two women in their 70s.
Although she had not registered as a donor, Charee was familiar with the gift of donation. Sherrce, who was a registered organ donor even before her daughter’s death, says she knows Charee would want to do whatever she could to help someone in need.
The six people who received Charee’s organs aren’t the only ones to benefit from her gift. When Sherrce’s friend lost her son more than a year after Charee’s death, she too said yes to donation.
“She donated on his behalf so that he could save lives like Charee did,” Sherrce says.
Her daughter’s 21st birthday wasn’t the celebration she once imagined, but Sherrce used the occasion to draw attention to her daughter’s life and her gift of organ donation. At a block party thrown in her daughter’s honor, Sherrce displayed Gift of Hope banners, gave away Gift of Hope bracelets and even served a Gift of Hope cake.
Charee lives on, Sherrce says, not only in the six people who received her organs, but through every person who says yes to donation because of her story.
Join the Organ and Tissue Donor Registry by Clicking Here or Texting HOPE to 51555.