Few parents can be as proud as Chuck and Robin Giebel, who lost their son Christopher in a motorcycle accident in the southern Taiwan city of Tainan but decided to respect his decision to donate his organs to six Taiwanese recipients.
Christopher Lee Giebel, 21, who had been studying Chinese at National Cheng Kung University language center, died after a serious motorcycle accident on December 23. His family donated his heart, liver, kidneys and corneas to six Taiwanese recipients last Friday.
“We're proud of him, but... yes, it's a hard decision,”said Chuck Giebel, who flew to Taiwan from Rantoul, Illinois after learning of Christopher's death.“Christopher signed up with American Organ Donation system when he got his drivers’license at 16... We hope our tragedy and his legacy can help promote organ donating in Taiwan, which I heard is not common.”
The couple found it hard to accept that they would not be able to take Chris’body back to the U.S. because of the procedure of organ removal. Following talks with their family and a priest back home, they agreed to donate Chris’organs to help others.
Christopher Giebel came to Taiwan in late 2004 to study Chinese, a language he wanted to learn partly because his father has so many business friends from Taiwan.“I have been associated with Taiwanese friends for 27 years and I guess that's partly why Chris had been so fascinated about Chinese culture,”explained Chuck, who is in the bicycle accessories business.
Chuck said Chris was actually a shy and soft-spoken kid under his“sunny”appearance.“Chris loves all kinds of sports: basketball, baseball, hiking, even hangliding. He loves to be outdoors. But he found it's hard to talk to people at first. I guess he understands more Chinese than he speaks.”The grieving father added,“He enjoys being around people. And he really appreciates the friendliness and hospitality of Taiwan people.”
Chris lived with the Huang family, one of Chuck's business friends in Tainan, and studied Chinese before moving out later. He taught English in his spare time and quickly blended in with local scene while making friends from Taiwan and other countries.
Chuck and Robin Giebel will be back in the U.S. shortly to handle ensuing family matters.“But we'll be back. I'll be back here not only because of business and my friends but also because this is a place Chris always loves,”Chuck said.