Zade Groenendyk (Jun 28, 2002 - Jul 26, 2017)
On July 26, 2017, Michael Groenendyk and Teri Morgan were faced with an unimaginable tragedy when their 15-year-old son Zade died tragically in an ATV accident at his home near Bussey, Iowa. Zade left behind his mother, father, step-father, a full sister, and four step-sisters. However, to Zade all of his siblings were just his sisters, and his step-father was dad. His mom shared that the word step-family was just not part of Zade’s vocabulary, and that family was everything to him.
Zade was also very passionate about school, sports, and helping others. He attended Twin Cedars School where he enjoyed playing baseball and football. Teri said that although he wasn’t a natural athlete, he always gave everything he had. Zade was an excellent student, and was part of the Talented and Gifted program as well as on the Honor Roll.
Just three weeks before the accident, Teri’s husband Tom took Zade to get his driver’s permit. As part of his caring and compassionate personality, Zade proudly decided on his own to become an eye, organ, and tissue donor. No one could have expected that he would be a donor so soon after joining the registry.
One of Zade’s corneas was gifted to a 57-year-old woman with Down syndrome named Kelly. Three weeks after her surgery, Kelly’s family sent a thank you card to Zade’s family expressing their gratitude for his selfless gift of sight to their sister. They shared that Kelly was more talkative than ever on her way home from her surgery, and was so excited to be able to see things out of the car window so clearly.
Zade’s family was thrilled to receive a card from the recipient, and promptly wrote them back. Teri said that Zade would have been so happy to know that he improved the life of someone else, and that it also helped them through the grieving process to know that Zade still lives on and continues to improve the lives of others.