August 19, 2021

Michael Sigler’s Story: One Family’s Tragedy Becomes Another’s Blessing

Written by: Kelley McClellan

Mikie's mom Courtney, Harold, and Mikie's father, Charles

Michael (Mikie) Sigler had his entire life ahead of him. At just 18 years old, he had an amazing zest for life and all things outdoors. He loved reptiles — especially his pet ball python, Snickers. He enjoyed listening to music, playing Fortnite and riding the motorcycle that he worked hard to buy on his own. On May 17, 2019, a tragic accident resulted in the immeasurable loss of Mikie, but his legacy lives on.

As an organ donor, Mikie was able to impact the lives of many others. Thanks to the enduring work of Nevada Donor Network and the University Medical Center in Las Vegas, eight people received a life-saving organ from Mikie. Around 60 others were gifted with his various tissues and his corneas.

The thought that Mikie will be able to live on through these recipients brings his mother, Courtney, a sense of comfort and strength as she learns to adjust to a life that suddenly doesn’t include Mikie. On May 22, 2019, the University Medical Center in Las Vegas held its first-ever Honor Walk as a tribute to Mikie’s generosity. The walk was witnessed by Courtney and over 300 supporters including first responders, hospital staff and more. Additionally, over six million people around the world were inspired by Mikie’s story. They were able to see how one person could make the ultimate difference.

A Mother’s Wish Comes True

After the loss of her son, Courtney felt a calling to contact the individuals who now carried a piece of Mikie with them. She decided to write a letter to his recipients to express her love for Mikie as well as her gratitude that he will live on through them. She yearned for them to understand that they would forever be part of her family and hoped they would find peace and love in their journey to recovery.

She wrote this letter hoping someone would respond. Months later, she finally got her wish when the daughter-in-law of one of his recipients, Harold, wrote back.

A Life Changed by Michael’s Gift

Before Mikie’s gift of life, 61-year-old Harold had an advanced case of Pulmonary Fibrosis. He relied on oxygen daily and was in and out of the hospital. His doctors had given him less than a month to live.

On May 21, 2019, he and his wife, Bee, received an unlikely call that Harold had been matched with a donor of the same blood type — B+, one of the rarest blood types. He received both of Mikie's lungs, and his quality of life changed overnight.

Harold recovered quickly, requiring no bypass machine, blood transfusions or pain medication. He was able to see his one and only son get married in December of 2019, a wedding he would have missed without Mikie’s gift. To Courtney, it seemed like her son had been Harold’s perfect match. He was destined to be part of her family.

Two Families Joined Through Organ Donation

After speaking with Harold, Courtney knew that she wanted to meet him. She and Mikie’s father (Charles) flew to Texas to celebrate Mikie’s 20th birthday with Harold, Bee and their family. Upon the first meeting, the two families felt an immediate and lasting bond. They hugged each other like old friends, feeling Mikie’s love, presence and strength. That weekend, they celebrated the gift that Mikie selflessly gave.

Thanks to Mikie, Harold will be able to live a full life with his wife and son. He remains close to Mikie’s family and continues to advocate for organ donation. Harold and Mikie’s story is just one example of how one donor can give the ultimate gift simply by saying “YES.”

Help End the Wait for Nevadans

For Courtney, Mikie’s passing highlighted the need to expand transplantation in Nevada. Most Nevadans waiting on the gift of life must relocate near a transplant center or risk not receiving their transplant. This is because organ recipients need to be near a transplant center to receive the specialized care they need. This often separates families for months, if not longer.

Courtney is working hand-in-hand with Nevada Donor Network’s Foundation to raise money to increase transplantation in Nevada and end the wait for those waiting on a life-saving gift. You can help us achieve this goal by donating today.

Be a Hero. Register as a Donor Today

More than 106,000 people in the United States need an organ transplant, but many will need to wait for months or years for the right donor. A single donor can save up to eight people through organ donation and heal 75 or more lives through tissue donation. Mikie’s story shows how one person can leave behind a legacy of hope, strength and life. #BeAHeroLikeMikie today!