By Ryeá O’Neill - January 11, 2024
“It’s about time!” Eric Quinney excitedly reflected on the release of the Donate Life Wyoming license plate. Many other passionate volunteers, donor family members, and those connected to eye, organ, and tissue donation around Wyoming seconded his excitement and jubilation about their state finally getting a license plate in support of the cause.
Joining approximately 28 other states around the nation, Wyoming released the application for the Donate Life license plate in early December 2023. The story behind the license plate is unique to Wyoming, however.
Eric Quinney, the chief administrative officer for Uinta County Fire and Ambulance, started the long journey of talking with community members, legislative representatives, and donation procurement organizations — all because of his son, Bryson.
Bryson was born with several congenital heart defects. After several open-heart surgeries before the age of five and years of procedures as he continued to grow, Bryson was eventually listed for a heart transplant in 2019. As a father, Eric knew that for his son to receive a heart transplant, a tragedy would have to occur for another family. This weighed heavily on him, Bryson, and the rest of their family as they waited for the call.
Finally, in March of 2020, they received the news; there was a heart for Bryson. He had his transplant surgery in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Shortly after his transplant, Bryson was asked to speak at a Donate Life event to support Utah legislation to get a Donate Life license plate for that state. He asked his father if Wyoming had a Donate Life license plate. Eric discovered that Wyoming did not have a plate. Bryson and Eric quickly turned their passion into advocacy of bringing their dreams of a Donate Life Wyoming license plate into reality.
They reached out to their local Senator Wendy Schuler for sponsorship and through the Transportation Committee were able to pass their bill in the 2022 Legislative session.
“Ever since our son received a heart transplant at the age of 13, we have been eager to do whatever we can to raise awareness of the importance of organ, eye, and tissue donation. We were excited to work with Senator Wendy Schuler to develop legislation to authorize the production of Donate Life License Plates here in Wyoming. We are hopeful that as these plates are put on vehicles, that others driving down the road will see them and spark important conversations with their loved ones about organ, eye, and tissue donation. Our son is alive today because of someone’s selfless sacrifice and we hope others will register to become donors and save many more lives.” — Eric Quinney, father of heart recipient Bryson Quinney
Here at the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank, we encourage you to make some donation resolutions:
First register your decision to be an eye, organ, and tissue donor.
Second, discuss your donation decisions with your loved ones.
And finally, resolve to show your support by getting the new Donate Life Wyoming license plate and drive in style in the New Year!
Just like Bryson and the Quinney family did!