RICHMOND, IN – The mother of Josh Rose came prepared when she met the man who is alive today thanks to her son’s organ donation. “I shocked him,” says Shirley Falcone. “I’m a nurse by trade. I asked if I could listen to his heart. He said ‘OK,’ and I pulled out a stethoscope!” Then, like a witness to a miracle, she heard her son’s heart beating in another man’s chest.
Shirley Falcone has communicated with three of the four people whose lives have been saved and enhanced by Josh’s heart, liver and kidneys donations. The experience strongly reinforced what she already knew about her son’s character before he was killed in a fall from the bed of a moving pickup truck in 2010 at the age of 33. “He was such a giving person,” she says. “Everybody that knew Josh loved Josh. He would give you the shirt off his back if you wanted it. He loved kids and he loved life.”
To honor Josh’s commitment to helping others Shirley asked CBC Richmond Rep. Melinda Frech about organizing a memorial blood drive. It will be held Monday, March 5 from 2:00 pm to 6:30 pm at the Richmond CBC branch on what would have been Josh’s 35th birthday.
“My reason for doing this is because Josh was a giver,” said Shirley. “He proved that in his passing and I want to continue the memory of that giving. He always wanted to help others anyway he could and he would want to do this.”
Shirley is also preserving memories for the sake of the family Josh left behind: his wife Tasha, his nine-year-old daughter Haley and seven-year-old son Caleb. She has saved all correspondence with Josh’s organ recipients, plus personal message from friends, in a scrapbook for the children “So when they get older they’ll know how their dad was.”
Shirley says a good illustration comes from a co-worker she met at Josh’s visitation. The woman explained that she used to sit in her car to eat lunch, too shy to join the others in the employee break room. Josh asked, “What are you doing?” and said, “You have to come inside with the rest of us.” She has felt part of the group ever since, all thanks to Josh.
“They’re hoping to save lives the way he saved lives,” Shirley says of the Josh Rose Memorial Blood Drive. “That’s what I want.”