Murdered Ogden man saved three lives as organ donor

Feb 16, 2022, 3:54 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 4:35 pm

Brian Housely signed up to be an organ donor when he got his driver's license. After his murder his...

Brian Housely signed up to be an organ donor when he got his driver's license. After his murder his organs saved three lives. (Used by permission Darcie Housely)

(Used by permission Darcie Housely)

KETCHUM, IdahoAn Ogden man’s decision to donate his organs saved three people and now he lives on through their lives. 

Some days are tougher than others for Ray Groth but he is always determined to get outside, even through bouts of pneumonia, like the one he’s getting over right now. 

“No idea what causes it, what brings it on, but every year I get it,” he said.     

He values his passion for cross-country skiing because not that long ago, he couldn’t do much at all. 

“My heart was just like a big, it was just, it wasn’t even pumping,” he explained. 

He has a condition that causes plaque to build up around the heart, which at the time, put him in the hospital for six weeks. 

“I was just sitting, waiting, trying to do the best I can,” he explained. 

David Cooper went through something similar. He said, “I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as an adult, at almost 30-years-old.” 

His pancreas and kidney were failing but four years ago, at the same time, Cooper and Groth got the calls they had been waiting for. 

“It’s been kind of something special for my kids,” Cooper explained. “I think I’ve recognized there’s more I can be and do for them.” 

Both men are alive today thanks to Brian Housley. The 28-year-old was shot in the head in a drive-by shooting. Police said he wasn’t even the target. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Brian Housley (Used by permission, Darcie Housely) Ray Groth can still go cross country skiing thanks to Brian's gift of life. (KSL TV) Ray Groth in the hospital. (used by permission, Ray Groth) David Cooper (KSL TV) David Cooper in the hospital. (Used by permission, David Cooper) Darcie Housley said Brian did not hesitate to register as an organ donor when he got his driver's license. (KSL TV) Ray Groth and David Cooper meet for the first time. (KSL TV) Darcie sits next to the teddy bear that has the recording of Brain's beating heart inside of it. (KSL TV) Darcie hugs David. (KSL TV) Ray Groth and David Cooper meet for the first time. (KSL TV) Ray said he often talks to Brian when he is skiing. (KSL TV)

“He did that so he could help somebody else, and he saved several people’s lives,” said his mother, Darcie Housley. 

She said it was an easy decision for Brian, checking it off when he first got his driver’s license. 

“He goes, ‘Well why wouldn’t somebody want to do that? Of course, they’d want to do that,’” she said. “So, he signed right up for it on his own.” 

Nowadays she keeps a reminder close. “We have his heartbeat in this little dog,” she said while holding a teddy bear that plays a recording of her son’s beating heart. 

It was a gift from Groth and his wife. A recording of Brian’s heart now beating in Groth’s chest. 

Darcie said, “Just amazing you know, to see that he kind of goes on in a way, you know?” 

She said a third person, who she hasn’t been able to connect with, also got a transplant from Brian. 

His murder is still unsolved. But through one tragedy the Housley’s now have a few more family members. 

“Hi David. I’m Ray Groth.” KSL was there as Ray and David met for the first time. 

Darcie was there too. “This is my son because he’s a lot young than me,” she said pointing at David. 

Then she pointed at Ray and said laughing, “You can be my dad.” 

David and Ray said Brian is always in his thoughts. 

“I think about him a lot and I recognize that I kind of bring him along in a journey with me,” David explained. 

The two recipients are enjoying a bond, unlike anything they’ve ever experienced before. 

“Maybe we’re kind of genetically brothers now you know?” Ray said with a chuckle. 

It’s all thanks to that one choice. 

“I’m here because of Brian and I’m still able to do things that I like to do because of Brian,” he added. 

Every day is a gift. 

Ray said Brian is there now for every adventure, especially when he is cross country skiing. “Some of those hills out there I’ll say, ‘Come on Brian, let’s do it. I know you can do it.’” 

He said, “I wish I’d have met him.” 

You can sign up to become an organ donor in several ways. Click here to find out how.

Click here to get answers to your questions about becoming a donor.

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Murdered Ogden man saved three lives as organ donor