South Carolina man dies days after being struck by lightning on Sanibel

Reporter: Gail Levy Writer: Jackie Winchester
Published: Updated:
Brent and Kristen Jerome (Courtesy of Downtown Church)

A South Carolina man who was struck by lightning along with his wife on Sanibel last weekend died Wednesday in a Lee County hospital.

Brent Jerome’s church posted an update Thursday to say the father of two was declared brain dead and was taken from ICU to surgery for the removal of five organs to be donated.

“In light of the deep sadness we feel, it brings this community some hope knowing that five different people who have been waiting for a miracle might receive that from our friend, husband, and father, Brent Jerome,” Downtown Church said.

Brent and his wife Kristen were vacationing with their kids on Sanibel when the couple was struck by lightning. Their children were not injured. Downtown Church said Kristen is continuing to recover and is “incredibly grateful for the warmth and care she has received from friends and strangers.”

Kaitlyn Collins knows how much impact organ donation can have. She lost her brother John in June, but part of him still lives on, just like Brent Jerome.

“That’s all we had in life was like each other. And you would never expect to lose someone so young,” she said.

John was just 23 when he was killed in a motorcycle crash. His legacy lives on, as he was able to save three other lives. His eyes, kidney, and liver gave those people a second chance.

“Knowing that his personal purpose in life was to be able to save other people,” Collins said.

Exactly what Brent’s organs will do, too.

“He’s giving someone life instead of someone else going through what we’re going through,” Collins said.

Her message for his family: “It gets better every day.”

And, “in the end, even though they’re not physically here, their life still does go on in someone else.”

Collins said they were able to save three of her brother’s organs because of blood donations. The family is hosting a blood drive from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Shoot Center Cape Coral, where John worked. It’s located at 1122 Del Prado Blvd. S.

Brent is the second person to die this week in Southwest Florida after being struck by lightning. Georgia teen Walker Bethune, 17, also died Wednesday, 11 days after he was struck by lightning while vacationing on Marco Island.

For information on signing up to be an organ donor, click here. You can also sign up when you get or renew your driver’s license.

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