Madeline Goldsmith. COURTESY PHOTO, LifeCenter Northwest

Madeline Goldsmith. COURTESY PHOTO, LifeCenter Northwest

Kentwood High grad's legacy of love lives on through organ donation

Madeline Goldsmith one of 344 organ donors honored by Gov. Jay Inslee in Olympia

When 18-year-old Madeline Goldsmith left her Covington home last year for a Fourth of July gathering with friends at Lake Meridian Park in Kent, she hugged her parents, then as she walked away, turned and smiled, holding up her hand in the curved shape of a half heart.

The half-heart gesture was one of her signature love signs — prompting others to share it back so the two halves made a whole, according to the story shared by LifeCenter Northwest in an April 2 press release. This was Maddie’s way. She was a connector who always made her feelings known. Madeline wouldn’t make it home that night. She was fatally shot near Lake Meridian Park. But her final act of love would be to donate her organs and tissues, saving five lives and healing countless others.

Madeline, a 2023 Kentwood High School graduate, was one of 344 Washington organ donors honored by Gov. Jay Inslee in a ceremony April 4 at the Capitol building in Olympia. The families of each organ donor received a Gift of Life Award certificate signed by the governor, acknowledging the lifesaving gifts of their loved ones.

“As stewards of the gift of life, we witness the power of organ donation every day in the pursuit of our mission,” says Santokh Gill, president and CEO of Bellevue-based LifeCenter Northwest, a nonprofit and federally-designated organ procurement organization serving Alaska, Montana, northern Idaho and Washington. “We are grateful for the opportunity to honor donors and their families in a formal ceremony so we may celebrate the second chances they selflessly provided to hundreds of others through organ donation.”

Given Madeline’s passion for life and the opinions she shared about literally everything, it came as no surprise to her family that she was a registered organ donor, according to LifeCenter Northwest.

“Of course she did that,” said Laura Goldsmith, the mother of Madeline, who attended the ceremony with her husband Todd Goldsmith. “We have a strong foundation of faith in our family, and we know that when we die, our bodies are not who we are. We all had an understanding that it [organ donation] was just what we would do.”

But after receiving letters from three of her daughter’s recipients, it was the profound impact of Madeline’s gifts that took her aback.

“She’s a hero,” Laura Goldsmith said. “I had no idea how rare organ donation is, and it’s meaningful to know that some good came from our tragedy.”

Last year, 344 Washingtonians saved the lives of more than 900 people through organ donation and transplantation.

Inslee released a statement about the event.

“Today (April 4), we gathered to honor the heroic acts of organ donors who gave the ultimate gift: a second chance at life,” Inslee said. “This selfless act touches countless lives, from families to medical professionals to our communities. But the most profound impact goes to those who receive this lifesaving gift.

“It was a privilege to celebrate the families who carry on this legacy. Their loved ones’ compassion directly saves countless lives. I want to thank donors and their families, LifeCenter Northwest, Cascade Life Alliance, and all who have helped facilitate this lifesaving work.”

Madeline would have turned 19 on April 19.

Register to donate

April is National Donate Life Month. Washingtonians can make a difference by joining the organ, eye and tissue donor registry at LifeCenter Northwest’s website at lcnw.org and sharing this decision with their family.


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Laura and Todd Goldsmith hold framed portraits of their daughter Madeline Goldsmith inside the Capitol building in Olympia. COURTESY PHOTO, LifeCenter Northwest

Laura and Todd Goldsmith hold framed portraits of their daughter Madeline Goldsmith inside the Capitol building in Olympia. COURTESY PHOTO, LifeCenter Northwest

Madeline Goldsmith. COURTESY PHOTO, LifeCenter Northwest

Madeline Goldsmith. COURTESY PHOTO, LifeCenter Northwest

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