GASTON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - The two little Gaston County girls on the right – Destiny and Marissa – were childhood friends. Destiny grew into the gorgeous teen on the left.
Maybe you recognize that picture. It was everywhere last summer after Destiny was killed in a terrible horse riding accident. In what can only be described as the ultimate selfless act, Destiny's mother donated her daughter's organs.
Those organs saved the lives of six other people.
Out of nowhere this week, Marissa Garrison sent a really sweet email, along with the childhood photo. She's now in the 9th grade at Stuart W. Cramer High School.
"You did a story on my dear friend Destiny this past summer," she wrote. "Because of Destiny, I'm organizing a benefit to promote organ donation."
On the day of Destiny's accident, Marissa was competing in Miss Gaston County Outstanding Teen. Her mom didn't tell her about Destiny until afterwards, knowing Marissa would be too upset to compete.
Marissa went on to win.
With the title, she has been given the opportunity to choose a platform.
She said "organ donation" was a no-brainer.
Tomorrow, Saturday, February 20th, Marissa is hosting her first annual "Sharing Talent, Giving Life Benefit" from 5-7 p.m. at the New Covenant United Methodist Church Family Life Center in Mount Holly.
Admission is free. Marissa is raising money by having all 100+ performers (lots of dancers – Marissa and Destiny danced together for six years) donate $25.
All that money is going to the Destiny Lives On Foundation, a non-profit Destiny's mom recently established.
Lifeshare of the Carolinas will also be there registering people as organ donors.
"We'd love a big crowd so we can register lots of people," said Marissa. "I want to make Destiny proud."
I think, Marissa, you already are.
*Editor's note: This is about one of #MollysKids, children WBTV Anchor Molly Gr antham follows closely on her Facebook page. It was first published there – which is why it's written in a personal way. For years Molly has followed hundreds of kids with uphill medical battles. Find this story (and updates on all #MollysKids) here.*