In February of 2002, 16-year-old Charles “Robbie” Sisemore of Farmington, Arkansas was a passenger in a car that was part of a caravan. He and his friends were leaving a school event and were heading to a second location. Robbie never reached his destination. Instead, his parents, Rob and Tammy, received a phone call informing them that their son had been critically injured in an automobile accident. Tammy recalls seeing her son at the scene of the accident and feeling sure that he would be okay. What Tammy didn’t know was that Robbie had suffered a severe head injury and had lapsed into a coma. After being treated for several weeks in the hospital, Rob and Tammy made the decision to bring their son home. For four months, Tammy cared for Robbie day and night, always having faith that he would recover. Sadly, this would not happen; after returning to the hospital for a final surgery to attempt to improve his condition, Robbie succumbed to his injuries on May 15, 2002.
It was during this painful time that Robbie’s younger sister, Shae, reminded Rob and Tammy that it had been Robbie’s wish to become an organ and tissue donor at the time of his death. The Sisemores honored Robbie’s decision. His kidneys were donated to two recipients—one in Arkansas and one in Mississippi. His heart valves were also donated.
Tammy is a dedicated advocate of organ and tissue donation. She serves as Chair of the Arkansas Donor Family Council and is also a member of the ARORA Board of Directors.