When 9-year-old Colton Williams’ mother heard her son’s organs had been used to save three lives, she cried tears of joy.
“She’s just crying and crying on the phone and I said, ‘What’s going on?'” Colton’s grandfather, Vince Furtick, told ABC News on Tuesday. “She said, ‘We’ve had this horrible, horrible thing going on and here’s a ray of sunshine.'”
Colton was killed on Thanksgiving in a hunting accident in Springfield, South Carolina, a spokesperson for the state’s Department of Natural Resources told ABC News.
Details surrounding his death have not yet been released, but Furtick said the boy was out with his dad when the accident occurred.
Yet amid the tragedy, the family said the “first positive” has been the news that both of Colton’s kidneys and his liver were donated to other families — an effort that his mother, Caitlin, saw through.
“It just added some value to an otherwise senseless tragedy,” Furtick said. “It meant something to her that some part of him could carry on.”
He described Colton as a boy who was “100% an outdoors-kind of guy.” He would always prefer a hunting rifle, fishing pole or basketball in his hands over a video game, according to Furtick.
He was also loved by the community. At Colton’s funeral on Sunday, Furtick said he was stunned to see how many children came up to the family and said Colton was their best friend.
“A lot of them said that,” his grandfather said. “It’s just heartbreaking to see him gone.”
While he said the family continues to grieve, the news of the organ donations has given them some solace. He hopes to meet those who now have Colton’s organs soon and see, in person, how the boy’s life has carried on.
“We’re sitting here with our tears of grief while, at the same time, there are three families crying tears of joy,” he said. “We still got closure with our grandson and we still can help somebody else.”