The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

April 26, 2013

Former Cleveland woman donated organs

— How she died isn’t impor­tant. Where she was going, who she was with, also not important.

What is important is that, when it was clear Jessica Oliver was going to die, a decision she’d made prior to her death was about to make the differ­ence for so many people.

Long before her life was taken away, Oliver decided that, if the situation ever arose, she wanted to donate her organs to others so that they may live.

That situation, unfortunately for her, arose March 7, the day the vehicle she was riding in with her boyfriend was broad­sided by an SUV. Oliver suf­fered catastrophic injuries. And because it took rescue workers a long time to extract her body from the wreckage, she suffered significant brain damage. It was over.

Her family decided that based on Jessica’s wishes, they let doctors harvest her organs. But it wasn’t an easy decision to make.

“At first I was against organ donation. It felt like they were taking her away from us,” said her brother Josiah Oliver. “But now seeing the end result, it has changed my mind, and ask anyone that knows me, that’s not easy.”

Jessica’s parents lived in the Madison Lake area for about 20 years. Jessica and Josiah attended the Cleveland public school system. He said Jessica kept in contact with friends from the area after they moved to Wisconsin, and many of those friends came to the funeral — Josiah estimates that, between the wake and funeral, about 100 people drove from the Madison Lake/Cleveland area to attend.

“ The showing from the Cleveland area was extraordi­nary,” he said.

He said Jessica was an exceptional volleyball and bas­ketball player. She also ran track.

Jessica had been going to school to be a nurse, and was a lifelong lover of animals. In fact, when she died, dona­tions accepted at her funer­al were earmarked for the local humane society.

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