Apr. 18—NORWALK — The memory of Dylan Flew lives on.
A small group gathered Saturday morning in front of Norwalk City Hall as Mayor Dave Light proclaimed April as National Donate Life Month.
July 31, 2006 will be a date that Kathi and Russ Flew will remember for the rest of their lives.
Many others also know that date thanks to the nationwide broadcasting of a fleet of hundreds trucks with a picture of their late son Dylan Flew and a simple message: "Dylan saved five lives. Be an organ and tissue donor."
'A parent should never lose a child'
On July 31 Dylan, then just nine days shy of 21, was riding his motorcycle with friends on Shawmill Road, near U.S. 250 outside Milan, when one of the other riders lost control and hit Flew's bike, causing both of them to be ejected. Flew was not wearing a helmet and received injuries that eventually proved fatal.
Some 15 years later, Kathi said the loss of her son has been something she and her family still struggle with everyday.
"It's the worst possible thing you can imagine and 10 times worse," she said, starting to become choked up. "You don't think you can survive. Losing a child is probably the hardest thing I can ever imagine someone going though. ... I always say it's the worst club that you never want to be apart of. A parent should never have to lose their child. It's something you never want to experience. It's not right. You think that you'll never be right again afterwards. Sometimes I think we're still not right."
Flew said she and her husband have "always had each other" and have helped each other through their "darkest days" but said another major source of encouragement and light in their lives has been the result of Dylan's organ donation, which helped to save five lives.
Every year the Flews gather in front of Norwalk City Hall to celebrate National Donate Life Month. I never gets any easier, but the satisfaction of their efforts to help others save lives makes it just a little easier.
"Wereas, April is National Donate Life Month, a time for all Americans to celebrate the generosity of those who have saved lives by becoming organ, eye. tissue, marries and blood donors — and to encourage more Americans to follow their example ..." Light read from is proclamation Saturday morning.
"Now, therefore, I, David W. Light, Mayor of the City of Norwalk, Ohio do herby proclaim April 2021 as National Donate Life Month in the city of Norwalk. I encourage all Americans to donate the gift of life at the time of their death if possible through organ, eye and tissue donation."
This photo of the late Dylan Flew, a 2003 Norwalk High School graduate, is seen on hundreds of tractor-trailers across the country via Hyway Trucking in Findlay as a reminder that being an organ or tissue donor saves lives. Credit: SUBMITTED