Miss New Jersey 2013 Cara McCollum, who died Monday from injuries sustained in a car crash last week, will live on through donation of her organs,

McCollum, a supporter of organ donation during her reign as Miss New Jersey, made her wishes known well in advance of the accident on Route 55 in Salem County that eventually took her life.


"Our staff was supporting the family throughout the process," Elisse Glennon, vice president and chief administrative officer of New Jersey Sharing Network, said. "We worked with the family and the hospital to assess Cara's medical situation once she was pronounced by the medical staff and we assessed the viability of her organs for transplant. We then worked with the transplant centers and the national waiting lists to determine which recipients would receive her organs,"

Glennon said that McCollum's family has requested privacy about her organ donations, but "one donor has the potential to donate up to eight organs."

"One donor has the potential through tissue donations which is skin, bone and cornea to enhance the lives of 50 others," Glennon said.

New Jersey Sharing Network is responsible for the recovery and placement of organs for transplant in New Jersey. Time is of the essence once a donor has died, as less than 1 percent of organs can be used, because they must be removed from a body immediately after the after the heart stops beating.

Glennon said she did not ever meet McCollum, but described her a "charitable, caring young woman who was active in a variety of social causes including organ donation." McCollum was an advocate for and volunteer with literacy efforts as well.

In New Jersey drivers can become organ donors when they renew their licenses. They can also register as donors at the NJ Sharing Network website.

Glennon 2.5 million New Jersey residents are registered organ donors and the staff will work with family members of those who are not donors.

"New Jerseyans are very generous and see the benefit of saving someone else's life when there's nothing else can be done for their loved ones," Glennon said.

Family members of Port Authority Officer Elise Bastardo — who died at age 24 earlier this month, also following a crash, asked members of the public looking to honor her memory to donate to the Sharing Network.

The Sharing Network can be reached at 800-742-7365 or e-mail info@njsharingnetwork.org. It also offers information about organ donation online— addressing concerns about medical issues, religious concerns, donor consent and other questions would-be donors may have.

Financial contributions may be made via an online form, or may be sent to:

NJ Sharing Network Foundation
691 Central Ave.
New Providence, NJ 07974

Funeral arrangements for McCollum have not yet been announced.

Related video:



A tribute to Cara McCollum.

Posted by SNJ Today on Monday, February 22, 2016