Billy and Denise McKnight of Kingstree got the call that no parent wants to hear. Their 22-year old son, Davy, had been in a serious car accident.
Twelve hours later, the family gathered in a Medical University Hospital waiting room. Davy was later pronounced legally brain dead, the result of a head injury, but his organs were salvageable.
Did the family want to donate?
"His brother left the room and then his father left the room," Denise recalled. "It was more than they could deal with at that time." I was sitting there with my daughter, Nicole, and I prayed silently to God for a sign showing me what to do."
That's when Nicole, only 15 at the time, spoke up.
"Momma," she said. "Davy would give people his last dollar if they needed it. This is what Davy would want to do."
So it was, 10 years ago this week, on April 9, 2000, that Davy Mc- Knight's death quietly contributed to the lives of four other people through donation of his organs.
His left kidney and pancreas went to a woman in Welford, his right kidney to a man in New Jersey, his liver to a man in Simpsonville and his heart to Frank Blum in Mt. Pleasant.
A decade later, Davy's heart still beats inside the chest of Blum, a 73-year-old former commercial fisherman who now works as an advocate for the local seafood industry.
"I got sick in 1999 and just kept getting weaker," said Blum, a combat veteran who worked on the water most of his life.
"I remember a doctor saying I needed a heart transplant."
In April 2000 the surgery was performed at the Medical University of South Carolina. Blum received the heart of 22-year-old William David McKnight.
"I don't have the words to express my gratitude," Blum said to Denise when they met for lunch recently. "I just don't know what to say."
Denise McKnight has lots of stories about her son.
He loved life to the fullest and he loved people. His family misses him dearly, but Denise is happy to know his death helped someone else to live.
"I'm glad four other people got a second chance," she said.
"I've talked to the other recipients, but I met Frank in 2003 and I like him. I just think of what it would be like to put myself in his shoes. What would I say to a donor's mother?" The answer, she says, is simple.
"I would say God has given me a second chance on life and I will do my best to take care of your son's heart."
As they sat and talked, Frank explained the survivor's guilt he sometimes felt; dealing with the "why me?" syndrome of being saved by someone else's misfortune.
But he admits, he feels stronger and healthier than ever.
"That," Denise says with a smile, "is because God gave you a young heart."