Second victim from fatal SXSW hit-and-run saves lives posthumously through organ donation

William Dunham, 34, was identified as the second victim in the fatal hit-and-run during South by Southwest in downtown Austin on March 12.

The person arrested in connection to the crash, Tyrone Thompson, 23, is accused of driving under the influence which killed both Dunham and 26-year-old Cody Shelton.

Shelton died at the scene and Dunham spent over a month fighting for his life before he succumbed to his injuries last week.

“He’s a hero. He’s my hero,” said Joan Winter, Will’s mom.

Surrounded by scrapbooks and mementos of his 34 years of life, Joan remembered William, “I really made [the scrapbooks] so someday he might enjoy them with his kids.”

Joan said in the hospital when Will died, “They wheeled him out of the room and they put a quilt on him— it says ‘the quilt of life, living on in others.’”

That’s what Will is doing– living on in others, as an organ donor.

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“They called to say that four people’s lives had been saved— I’m just grateful that he could give because that’s what he loved to do,” said Joan.

April is Donate Life Month, a time to bring awareness to the importance of organ donation, something that is always in dire need.

“The need is great and the demand for organs far outweighs those available– every donor is absolutely precious,” said Chad G. Carroll, the Director of Donate Life Texas.

Williams’ heart will soon beat in somebody else; Joan said she hopes it comes with his laughter and love.

“It somehow feels like we’re able to stay in touch with a part of him that’s living on, so somehow this feels like a beginning too.”

Nationwide more than 100,000 people are waiting for an organ donation. As of now, 44% of Texans are not registered as organ donors.

With William saving the lives of four people with his donation(s), Joan said she hopes everyone is inspired to become an organ donor.

To register to be an organ donor, click here.