Desire to make a difference

Eric Brodin’s sudden death at age 20

changes others through organ donation

By Megan Hopps



Eric Brodin, 20, a graduate of Champlin Park High School and current student at the University of North Dakota, had just finished a Co-op position at United Technologies Centers (UTC) Aerospace Systems in Jamestown, ND.

Like most college students, he returned home to spend the holidays with his family. But just days before his return to school he suffered a severe brain aneurysm and was placed on life support.

Eric Brodin visits Yosemite National Park on a family vacation. Eric died suddenly of a brain aneurism, and his decision to be an organ donor has helped the lives of many others.
Eric Brodin visits Yosemite National Park on a family vacation. Eric died suddenly of a brain aneurism, and his decision to be an organ donor has helped the lives of many others.

“He was complaining of a headache,” said Eric’s mother, Judy Brodin. “After a couple hours from the start of the headache he vomited, became dizzy and suffered weakness on his right side so I called 911.”

Eric was then rushed to Mercy Hospital where he later died from what doctors believe to have been a brain aneurysm located at the brain stem. Because of the location, Eric’s case was inoperable.

But this is not the end of Eric’s story. Through his death, he still gives life to those whose hope is fading. Eric chose to have his organs and tissues donated to those that have been waiting for a healthy organ for months.

“Many individuals, families and all the lives they touch will be impacted by Eric’s final gift of hope and promise,” said family friend Terri Urvig.

A single organ and tissue donor can save or positively impact upwards of 50 lives.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Last year alone, organ donors made more than 28,000 transplants possible. Another one million people received cornea and other tissue transplants that helped them recover from trauma, bone damage, spinal injuries, burns, hearing impairment and vision loss.”

And it’s those like Eric that make saving and changing lives possible.

Kelsey Krautkremer, also a graduate of Champlin Park, was an organ recipient. She was fortunate to have support of friends and family that were willing to organize fundraisers to cover the costs of her medical bills. Krautkremer was in need of a new kidney. Hers were shutting down, only functioning at 18 percent.

But Krautkremer found a donor in time to keep her off of dialysis and give her a second chance at a better life; a life with a promise of a future. She was able to get a new kidney in August and said, “I knew this wasn’t the end of my journey, it was just the beginning of a different one.”

Eric’s body remained on life support in order to keep all the body organs functioning and to do necessary testing. The next step was to identify all potential matches. When everything was confirmed, his body went into surgery to harvest all the usable organs and tissues.

“I’m just happy to know that his life was able to help others,” Brodin said.

Family and friends described Eric as a caring, faithful, athletic young man full of hope and promise. His parents Judy and Buck along with his sister Rachel and her husband James were supported by family, friends and the faith community of NorthRidge Fellowship in Rogers. Eric was pronounced brain dead Wednesday, Jan. 8.

“The biggest thing in Eric’s life was his faith in the Lord, he took it seriously,” said Brodin. “He had such a desire to make a difference. He liked to serve other people.”

Eric’s impact on the world will change many. Even through his passing, he lives on through others, giving them so much more than just a new lung or liver. Through his decision he promises a better quality of life, a life with hope and a promise of a future.

“I just feel like God was gracious in the fact that we were able to have him home with us when this happened,” Brodin said. “We are so very proud of our son.”

Contact Megan Hopps at [email protected]