To Serve, Protect and Save Lives
Behind the podcast: Hear Christine talk about her experience on our Let’s Talk Hope podcast at letstalkhopepodcast.com or wherever you find your podcasts.
Christine Ho comes from a family of police officers. When she started dating a man at work named Jonathan, he was planning a career in computer technology. He decided to join the Chicago Police Department after hearing Christine talk about the officers in her family.
“It was like he was meant for the job,” Christine says of the man she ultimately married. “And he loved every day. He loved helping people.”
In the south Chicago neighborhood where they lived with their two young children, Jonathan was always happy to help his neighbors, especially the kids and teens. They came to him with their problems, and it wasn’t unusual for Jonathan to give advice and offer guidance, even when he was off duty.
The son of Chinese and Filipino parents. Jonathan was a dedicated father. He was protective of his family, but he also loved fast cars and adventure. Whenever he had the chance, he was off-roading in his Jeep or riding his motorcycle.
In his 12th year as an officer, Jonathan was riding his motorcycle home from a patrol shift one day. He planned to pick up his 10-year-old daughter and then meet his son at home.
He never made it. An SUV struck his motorcycle in a busy intersection.
Christine received a phone call at work. The police officer on the line told her that that a squad car would be coming to take her to the hospital—Jonathan had been in a serious accident.
Jonathan was critically injured. At the hospital, Christine learned that her husband was brain dead.
She met with a Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network specialist who explained that Jonathan was registered as an organ and tissue donor, and was medically eligible to donate. Being generous to others was his way, so Christine was not surprised that he had registered to donate his organs, eyes and tissues after he passed away.
“It wasn’t our decision to make—it was his,” Christine says.
After his death, Jonathan changed the lives of five people who received his donated heart, kidneys, liver and corneas. A year later, Christine joined her children and Jonathan’s mother in meeting several of his transplant recipients at an event hosted by Gift of Hope.
Today, Christine and her teenage son and daughter are all registered as organ donors because they know first-hand the difference one donor can make, giving life through donation.
A passion for advocacy has grown from their grief. Christine’s daughter is now 16 and volunteers as a peer mentor, supporting others who have endured a loss. She volunteers as a way to help others the way she was helped after her dad died. The family has joined events with other donor families. Christine has spoken publicly and with Chicago media about Jonathan’s life and his life-saving donation.
“When we can go out and tell our story—it helps you, it helps to heal,” Christine says. “It helps you grow. It’s so powerful and humbling. I think I’ll tell that story forever because I feel like that that still keeps him alive.”
Almost every year, Christine and the kids join the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation’s Run to Remember to support other police families in need and to honor Jonathan and other fallen officers. Her family members who have worked in law enforcement also walk or run in the event. The family is there together, supporting one another.
Register your decision today to become an organ, eye and tissue donor. Talk with your family and friends about your decision to donate life.