Kingfisher is 16 living a productive life in Northern Oklahoma. He and his family have made it back to Norman every year to be part of the memorial walk.
While neither Kingfisher or Burchell (27) are able to walk the route, having them waiting on the group at the finish line is what the event is all about for Mena.
“When we started this walk, it’s not about sadness,” Mena said. “It’s about hope and faith. So Curtis is always at the end of the walk. Krissy is there and it’s uplifting.”
When the memorial walk first began, its main focus was to get drivers to yield to motorcycles. But over the past four years it has also adopted awareness for organ donation.
“I tell my players to make sure on their driver’s license that they are organ donors,” OU softball coach Patty Gasso said. “Because we are here gathering with new family because of Mariee. The fact that she made that decision to be an organ donor saved lives.”
No one knows that better than Renee Burchell, who watched her daughter Krissy deteriorate before her eyes until she got the call.
“That’s absolutely amazing because she was so sick,” Burchell said. “Four years ago she was on dialysis. Her kidneys had shut down. She couldn’t walk. She had been in ICU at this point in time. She was in ICU six weeks waiting for the heart. When we got the notification, it was four years ago today. At 2:30 in the afternoon, they came and told us they found a heart for Krissy.”
But Burchell knows at what cost it came.
“The night that it happened, the first thing you think of as a mom is you’re excited because your baby is going to live,” Burchell said. “Then it hits you that another mom has lost her baby.”