REPUBLIC, Mo. Living twice by giving the gift of life.
That's the message of the Liv a Life of Love Foundation, in memory of a Republic teenager who died in 2014.
Olivia Didway was 17 years old when she died in a single vehicle car accident. Olivia was an organ donor and her gift of life saved the lives of five people, including at 10-year-old boy who received her heart.
Olivia had a conversation with her mom, Angela Rose, when she got her driver's license. As a result, Angela knew what her daughter's wishes were when it came time to make that decision.
Olivia's family established the Liv a Life of Love Foundation in her name, to benefit Mid-America Transplant in St. Louis. Her family's goal is to increase awareness of organ donation. They don't want to pressure anyone into signing up to be a donor- but they want folks to have that important conversation with their loved ones, so they too know what your wishes are.
This year is the third annual Liv's Run for Life and every year draws hundreds of people.
"Every year, it's interesting and it gets more exciting because we're able to get more involved in the community and every single year we meet more individuals who are on either the recipient or the donor side, more families who we're introduced to and we get to hear their stories and who become more involved with either the race or the foundation," Rose said.
Recently, Rose has started speaking to driver's ed students at area high schools, and to professionals at local businesses, telling Olivia's story.
"Proceeds to Liv a Life of Love Foundation go to scholarships for students in Greene and Christian County," said Paula Silverest. "And also allows us to go into the community to spread awareness about organ donation."
Many of Olivia's friends have graduated high school and on to college and this year's race fell on Easter weekend, but this year's race still drew over 330 participants. That says a lot about how loved Olivia is in this community.
"My favorite part about the race is walking by and hearing all the stories they have of Olivia, and it just brings back memories and makes me smile," said Emilee Sullivan, Olivia's sister.
For more on the race and the Liv a Life of Love Foundation, visit the Facebook page in the "additional links" box on this page.