Nothing could have prepared Kristin Beauchamp for April 26, 2021, the day her oldest son, Patrick Higgins, 24, died in a motorcycle accident.
Patrick had served in the military, including deployments both in Romania and Somalia. When Patrick’s service in the military ended, Kristin took a deep sigh of relief, thankful he was safely home. Then suddenly, life changed forever with the news of Patrick’s accident. Yet, in the midst of all the days of grieving since, she states confidently, “God never wastes pain. He uses it to make us uniquely qualified to help someone else.”
When Patrick died, there was no question he would be an organ donor. He had made that choice when he first got his driver’s license. Patrick’s eye tissue was donated, and Kristin received a letter from Advancing Sight Network in Birmingham, confirming that two individuals had received the gift of sight through Patrick’s donation.
After Patrick died, Kristin’s family found a letter he had written before deploying to Somalia. In the letter, Patrick wrote, “I was raised with love, and kindness, and grace, and I want to leave something of that behind. If you’re reading this, I’m gone. But I don’t want you to be sad.”
Patrick wrote that letter thinking it would be found if he died in service to his country. Kristin expresses that Patrick loved serving. She believes that the donation of Patrick’s eye tissue was a way for him to serve others one more time.
Kristin and her family chose to mark the one-year anniversary of Patrick’s death by helping others. “We encouraged people to make a monetary donation to Advancing Sight Network in his memory and to become organ donors if they aren’t already,” she said. “We were able to raise $2,000 to help Advancing Sight Network with their Kenya project.”
Advancing Sight Network is partnering with Dr. Ben Roberts, an ophthalmologist and medical missionary in Kenya. Dr. Roberts was trained in Birmingham, Alabama, and since 2006 has spent his life committed to improving and restoring the vision of his patients. Advancing Sight Network already provides eye tissue at no cost to Dr. Roberts, enabling him to perform sight-saving corneal transplant surgeries. This new joint venture will help provide Dr. Roberts with skilled help in both the eye clinic and the operating room.
“We are focusing on projects that would have meant something to Patrick, and this desire, to be an organ donor, came directly from him. If we can help generate more awareness about eye tissue and organ donation, then maybe some families won’t have to feel what we feel. If anything good can come out of losing Patrick, I want to hold on to that with every fiber of my being. It helps bring meaning to all of this.”
When asked what she hopes people will remember about Patrick, Kristin says, “To me Patrick is everything. But his life is only a footnote in a story with a much bigger picture. As people hear about Patrick, what I want them to remember is God’s faithfulness. Through it all I know that God is still good. I don’t understand God’s plan in this. But even though I don’t understand the plan, I can trust God’s character.”
Kristin Beauchamp is a member of Westwood Baptist Church in Alabaster, and gains hope from speaking about what God is teaching her through grief.
To see more of Kristin’s story click here.
For more information about Dr. Robert’s work in Kenya visit tenwekhosp.org.
To make a financial contribution to restore eyesight in Kenya click here.
Restore sight to others by making a gift to Advancing Sight Network. Visit advacingsight.org/give-financially or mail your check to:
Advancing Sight Network
Attn: Development Office
500 Robert Jemison Road
Birmingham, AL 35209