The story of a 16-year-old organ donor from Lewiston is being told by his mother, heart recipient in new book

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(WIVB) – The legacy of a 16-year-old boy from Lewiston who became an organ donation after his death in 1997 is living on through his gift of organ donation – and a new book.

Thomas Mauk was involved in a tragic motorcycle accident in Aug. 1997. He died from his injuries at ECMC.

Thomas’ mother, Janet, said that Thomas’ neurosurgeon at the hospital suggested organ donation.

“I am glad he mentioned it because I  was in shock and would not have thought about it,” Mauk said. “I had no control of my son’s death but I did have control over giving life for others so we said yes.”

Mauk said that they found out later that Thomas had told a mentor that “if anything happened to him he wanted to donate his organs so others would live”.

Thomas’ heart went to Peter Radigan, who was hundreds of miles away and was at the end stage of heart disease.

Radigan, who lives in Tampa, Fla., is now a husband and a father. He has kept in touch with Janet over the 24 years since the donation.

“We met a year and a half to the day of the transplant,” he recalled. “We embraced, and I don’t know why I asked, but I said “do you want to hear Tom’s heartbeat?” and she put her head to my chest. It was a powerful moment.”

The pair teamed up with author Jim McGrath to write “Tragedy to Triumph: The Story of Tom’s Heart”. It came out in October and is now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, and Kobo Books.

Mauk said the book about the donation has been in the making for years.

“I enjoyed writing the book and collaborating with Pete about its content – I knew it was a story that needed to be told,” she added.

McGrath called the tale an “incredible” story.

“I think anyone who reads the book will gain a better understanding of the organ donation process and how it works, and how to proceed, and really how to have a direct impact on so many people,” McGrath said.

The authors of the book hope that their story will encourage families to have conversations about organ donation.

 “I do believe the book will cause others to at least think about organ donation and to see the positives even for the family that donated, bringing a purpose to the tragedy itself, and help them heal over their loss,” Mauk said.

To learn more about organ donation, click here.

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