(Rav and Michael)
Michael Singh Mann, affectionately called Mikey by his family, was the youngest of four siblings. Remembered as a kind, humble, and loving human being, the Mann family was forever changed when Michael and his wife headed to Whistler to celebrate their second wedding anniversary.
A car accident left Michael in critical condition. He had no pulse for 25 minutes before paramedics arrived and airlifted him to Vancouver General Hospital.
Michael's older sister, Rav Mann Johal, rushed into his room to see him, where she was shocked to see so many tubes and machines working to try and keep him alive.
"My brother, who was a gym maniac and a tall, young, extremely handsome strong man, was just laying there," she recalls. It was difficult to comprehend.
11 years older than Michael, Rav says she felt more like a mom than a sister to him. "I was there for every milestone and every celebration," she notes. "I would rush home from school during lunch to give him a bath and feed him so he could nap. I wouldn't miss out on anything."
(Michael and Rav)
"He always had the best smile and the best energy," Rav says. "He had a natural talent to make anyone feel welcomed, loved and cared for. He was the funniest guy ever. He could have anyone laughing out loud to the point where their stomachs hurt."
She considered him "the glue" that held their family together.
"Family meant everything to him. He was 26 years old – one month away from 27 – when he passed away," Rav says.
By the day after the accident, Michael had suffered irreparable brain damage from severe swelling. Doctors explained to the family that Michael would not survive.
During those difficult days, a doctor approached the family to talk about the possibility of organ donation. Michael had not yet registered as an organ donor and his family was asked if they thought organ donation might be something Michael would want.
"He was the most giving person with the biggest heart. My baby brother would go out of his way to help anyone at any time," Rav said. "He was the most selfless person I have ever known."
After discussing the options, the Mann family knew that the reason Michael retained a pulse for those final days after the accident was so he could donate his organs.
Michael would ultimately save five lives – donating his kidneys, liver, heart, and lungs.
(Michael and Rav)
Since Michael's passing, his parents attended a Donor Medal Ceremony to honour their son and connect with other grieving families. Rav also decided to get involved with BC Transplant to help raise awareness.
"Organ donation means to pass life on and give a second chance to those that need one," she explains. "I want to honour what my brother was able to do. I would like others to get inspired by his story and not be afraid to sign up."
She urges everyone to have a conversation with their family members to decide what loved ones would ultimately want.
"The pain we feel every day is indescribable, and we would never want another family to go through that," Rav says. "I always imagine the recipient -- knowing that pieces of my brother are still here keeps us going."
Written by: Ryan Uytdewilligen, BC Transplant Volunteer