Brothers honored for saving lives through organ donation

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – Two young men who lost their lives in 2020 after a fatal car accident were honored Friday night for saving the lives of several strangers through organ donation.

In 2020, TJ Smith, his younger brother Tyronzen Smith and another person were killed in a car accident.

Tyronzen was a student at Covington High School at the time.

TJ was a standout running back for Covington High from 2013 to 2016.

On Friday, Covington High School and the Mid-South Transplant Foundation honored the two young brothers they call “donor heroes.”

Brothers TJ and Tyronzen Smith.
Brothers TJ and Tyronzen Smith.(Action News 5)

Together, both TJ and Tyronzen were able to donate seven organs, save seven lives and help hundreds through tissue donation.

One of the lives saved was Gary Davis.

Davis says Tyronzen is his hero.

“I had a double lung transplant that I got from Tyronzen, aka ‘Run Run,’ is what everybody calls him, so I’m really happy to be here,” Davis said. “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here.”

For Tyronzen’s mother, Charmin Smith, it was a beautiful moment for her to see her son and stepson honored and see how many lives they saved.

“Just the fact that they’re taking the time to recognize them, even though they died in that tragedy, just recognizing them is wonderful,” Smith said.

Mary Beck with the Mid-South Transplant Foundation says that even after their tragedy, TJ and Tyronzen’s families helped save lives.

“They were not registered donors,” Beck said. “But the parents decided, they knew exactly what they had to do to give this gift of life to other people. They may have gone through something very difficult, but they wanted other people to have the chance to live.”

The Mid-South Transplant Foundation says there are 4,000 people around the Mid-South in need of organ donation. To learn more about becoming an organ donor, click here.

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