Legacy of College Student From West Suburbs Who Died in Tragic Accident Lives On Through Organ Donations

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A standout athlete from the western suburbs passed away suddenly while away at college, but Declin Ermer’s legacy of kindness toward others continued when several of his organs and tissues were donated to others in need.

Ermer, 21, graduated from Wheaton Warrenville South High School in 2019. He played multiple sports in school, including soccer, basketball, baseball and volleyball and was well known for his athleticism, but also his kindness.

“He has a lot of fans, a lot of fans and he deserved it. He was just a really special kid and very giving through his entire life,” said Laura Townsend, Declin’s mom.

Ermer was in his senior year at the University of Montana. On Oct. 28, he was at a friend’s house off campus, when he fell 20 feet from a sun deck to the concrete below.

“They were taking a picture and just not paying attention,” said Eric Ermer, Declin’s dad.

Declin Ermer was rushed to a hospital in Missoula and spent several days there before being flow to a hospital in Seattle, but his injuries proved to be too severe and he passed away on November 9th.

“There was just too much damage,” Townsend said.

But even in his passing, Ermer continued to help people through organ donation. His parents say Declin checked the box to become an organ donor when he got his license at the age of 16.

“In the end, with tissues and everything, there were about seven people whose lives are saved or benefitted,” Eric Ermer said.

One organ that was not donated was his heart, despite his parents hope that it would live on in someone else. However, his heart valves, his cornea and tissue – all went to others in need.

“That doesn’t surprise me knowing Declin,” said Guy Callipari, head coach of the varsity boys and girls soccer teams at Wheaton Warrenville South High School.

Callipari and others in the Wheaton Warrenville South community see Ermer’s donation as an inspiration.

“I think Declin is a shining light and definitely a fine example for other teenagers,” said Callipari.

Declin’s parents are sharing their son’s selfless act to motivate others to seriously consider organ donation.

“I just think folks need to seriously consider the good that that does, and take it seriously,” Townsend said. “He definitely was just a kind, good person. So I think his legacy will be how to show kindness and goodness in your life.”

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