ANKENY, Iowa — Back in 2010, 5-year-old Carson Dejoode and his 5-month-old sister Claire died due to injuries from a car crash. Following their deaths, Carson and Claire saved the lives of others through organ donation. 

The Iowa Department of Transportation honored Carson’s and Claire’s legacy by sharing their story on a permanent tribute plaque at the Ankeny driver’s license service center. The department hopes it will encourage others to become organ donors. 

The plaque was unveiled to the family this morning and their father, Troy Dejoode, tells us that he sees this as another opportunity for their story to be told to help educate others.

“It’s wonderful to see their legacy and the story resonate with people and to the extent that it can continue to pay dividends in the organ donation world is what really matters to us.” Dejoode said. “It’s not so much that they’re not forgotten, but their story can do so much to encourage people to get educated and become aware of organ donation.” 

The Iowa Donor Network is partnering with the DOT to bring more awareness by installing similar plaques around the state. The plaques honor a deceased donor, living donor, or recipient from the community the plaque is installed in.

The Director of Communications for IDN, Heather Butterfield, tells us that this is an important partnership to help even more Iowans change their organ donor status. 

“We encourage anyone of any age to register to donate life,” said Butterfield. “We have seen donor registration rates increase greatly in the community in the months following installation of these charity plaques. They truly are having an incredible impact in inspiring more people to say yes to donation, more than 97 percent of people who register as donors in Iowa register when getting their driver’s license.

You can register to be a donor at anytime on the Iowa Donor Network website.