OAK ISLAND, N.C. — The family of a North Carolina father who was killed in a freak accident last month when a wave hit him and broke his neck learned about the lives he saved after donating his organs.
Our news partners at WTVD reported that Lee Dingle, 37, was playing in the ocean with his kids when a wave knocked him to the ground, breaking his neck.
According to Dingle's wife, Shannon Dingle, the swelling from his injury caused her husband to suffocate.
Lee Dingle and his wife had six children.
A family friend told WTVD that Lee Dingle's life revolved around his family.
"She's a strong woman, and the kids are just exceptional kids. I just love them so much, and I know that everything Lee did as a backbone and a support and encourager to them has equipped them to handle hard things in their lives. Because he was the kind of dad that built them up and the kind of husband who supported his wife," said family friend April Schweitzer.
Lee Dingle's parents, who live in Mint Hill, reached out to Channel 9 over the weekend. They said as a final act of selflessness, all of his organs will be donated to 55 people.
Carolina Donor Services said his heart, liver and kidneys helped four different people and a mother of five received his right kidney.
His bond and skin grafts are helping people with cancer and other traumas.
Carolina Donor Services said when people sign up to be a donor, they can save more than 75 lives through donation.
"It's incredible to see how many North Carolinians really make that decision to save lives of complete strangers," said Danielle Niedfeldt, CEO and president of Carolina Donor Services.
Niedfeldt called Dingle a hero.
"There's over a 115,000 people in the U.S. waiting for organs and over 3,000 in North Carolina alone," Niedfeldt said.
Because of federal medical privacy laws, we don't know who will get his organs. In Charlotte, Lifeshare of the Carolinas would be notified of an organ donation. They work closely with Atrium Health.
Friends are raising money to help the family.
If you would like to help, you can donate to the Dingle family here.
Cox Media Group