Grateful heart boy to return
Five years after Warwick Academy student Dakarai Tucker's death, the young man who received his heart will return to the Island to stress the importance of organ donation.
American Ryan Miller will speak as part of a variety show also aimed at raising funds for a scholarship in Dakarai's name.
The 15-year-old died from complications of a brain aneurysm in 2008.
“I always wanted to put on a show for Dakarai,” said his mother, Dawna Tucker. “I tried to twice before and it never really got off. I was inspired this year because it's the fifth anniversary, and I wanted to do something special.”
Proceeds from the September 28 event will go to the Dakarai Tucker Scholarship.
The show was organised with assistance from staff and students at Warwick Academy.
Singers, dancers and musicians will perform as part of the show, said Jane Vickers, the school's director of development. Models will feature clothing designs by Warwick Academy student Celine Morton and radio personality Bootsie will serve as the night's emcee.
Mrs Tucker and her husband Stephen chose to donate Dakarai's organs — the act ultimately saved Ryan's life. The New Jersey resident had been diagnosed with a serious heart abnormality known as a non-compactive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The illness greatly diminishes the heart's ability to pump blood, thereby causing the heart muscle to enlarge and eventually fail.
Ryan, who was 16 at the time of the operation, will attend the Bermuda fundraiser with his parents and grandparents.
He first met Dakarai's family on a visit to Bermuda last year.
Mrs Tucker said she hopes the night will raise money for her son's scholarship fund and also inform people just how important organ donation is.
“I'm hoping for people to be more aware of organ donation and the importance of it — how they can impact someone's life,” she said.
A representative from the Bermuda Organ and Tissue Donor Association will be there to help people sign up to become organ donors.
“We would love to pack the hall here at Warwick Academy on the 28th. It will be a night of wonderful music, dance and a celebration of the miracle of life,” Ms Vickers said. “We want to bring everyone together as one to celebrate Dakarai and the ultimate gift anyone can give … the gift of life through organ donations.
“Ryan is living proof of how important organ donations are and also just looking at Dakarai and Ryan, it just shows that we are all one people.”
Tickets, $30, are now on sale from the Warwick Academy office — 236-1917.