Varsity wrestler’s decision to be a donor honored, helping strangers across the country

Cord is among the Illinois student-athletes that the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) and Donate Life Illinois honor along with their families and communities for saying “yes” to organ, tissue and eye donation.  For the sixth year in 2023, we are partnering with IHSA to encourage high school students to become educated about donation and “Say Yes” to joining the Illinois Organ/Tissue Donor Registry upon receiving their driver’s licenses. Register your decision here.

When Cord Pearce of Morton, Ill. received his instruction permit to drive, he made it known to his family that he wanted to be an organ & tissue donor.

When the 16-year-old unexpectedly passed away less than a year later, his family knew his desire to help others through donation.

“Agreeing to allow Cord to be a donor and give the gift of life to someone would be honoring his wishes because he was such a giving and caring person and always thinking of others,” Cord’s mother, Amie, says.

Cord donated 29 bone grafts after his unexpected death. His tissue gifts have enhanced the lives of recipients in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, New York, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming.

“Hopefully, these people are doing well, and they are living healthier lives,” Amie says.

Cord had a competitive spirit. He played baseball with Morton Youth Baseball Association as a catcher, and football with Morton A sophomore at Morton High School, Cord was on the varsity wrestling team, known for bringing positive energy to the locker room and being a friend to many.

“Cord was talented in many ways, and through seventh grade, he participated in dance with both Center Stage and Carrousel of Dance where he performed both hip-hop and tap dance,” Amie said.

He had three siblings, brother Emery and sisters Phoebe and Sophie. Cord had fun with his nephew Kane, practicing sports and playing around together.

“I feel proud of my son, and, in my eyes, he’s a hero. His last heroic act was saving the lives of others. He was a giver who gave to the very end.

You could save or improve as many as 75 lives by making the decision to register as an organ, tissue and eye donor and talking to your family about the decision. Register your decision at