Jody Siers said she is still in shock after her 19-year-old daughter died in a work accident last week, but she is finding comfort in the gift of life her oldest child gave to a stranger.
Shortly after she died Monday, Stephanie Siers' heart was donated to a local 63-year-old woman, Jody said.
"Somebody got a really awesome Christmas gift," Jody said, adding that her daughter's kidneys and other tissues were also donated through the Gift of Hope organ and tissue donation network. "That is keeping me strong because I know my daughter is still living on."
Stephanie was assisting with snow and ice removal -- a job she took on at age 18 after watching her mother drive salt trucks for years -- when she fell from the tailgate of a work truck in Oak Brook on Dec. 22.
According to a news release issued by the Oak Brook Police Department, the accident occurred around 1 p.m. near 22nd Street and Clearwater Drive. Siers was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where she died from head injuries.
Jody said she was told her daughter suffered from an asthma attack before she fell. A co-worker apparently told Stephanie to come sit inside the truck, but she opted to take a break on the tailgate instead, Jody said.
The driver of the work vehicle was questioned by police, but no charges were filed. Police have concluded their investigation and the case has been forwarded to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Siers graduated from Dundee Crown High School earlier this year and was attending Elgin Community College. Jody said she hoped to become a child psychologist.
During high school, Siers was a member of the high school's Advancement Via Independent Determination program and a volunteer at the Carpentersville VFW and the Boys and Girls Club of Dundee Township.
"She was a very giving person," Jody said.
Siers is survived by her parents and younger brother. Visitation will be held from 1 to 6 p.m. today at Miller Funeral Home, 504 W. Main St. in West Dundee. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at the funeral home, followed by burial in the Dundee Township East Cemetery in East Dundee.