13-month-old "Smilin Rylen" Continues to Give Life After Passing


Written by Kristen Cowan, mother of Rylen Cowan 

On June 5, 2017 our sweet Rylen who was only 13 months old, earned his angel wings after a battle with Bacterial Meningitis. We don’t know why God chose to have Rylen return to Heaven so soon, but what we have learned is that God has this amazing PLAN that is still unfolding to this very day! You see, though his life was short, he is our BIGGEST HERO. We feel blessed to know that he made a HUGE impact on this Earth.

How you may ask? Well, after his passing, we were faced with what you might think was a difficult decision to donate his organs, but we felt honored to have this option. We knew that through his life, he would be able to save many lives. My husband and I both had been raised in a family where organ donation had allowed for close family members to live longer. We were saddened by our loss, but excited to give the gift of life to others.

 3.pngRylen was able to donate his heart to a 2 year old boy, his liver to a 2 year old girl, his intestine to a 9 year old boy, and his two kidneys-one to a 41 year old male, and one to a 45 year old male! We miss our Rylen every day, every hour, and every minute, but we truly feel like God gave us this opportunity so that we could see how Rylen’s gifts were able to give life to others. I have sent all my letters out to each of the recipients in hopes that their families are willing to meet in person. To this date, we have heard back from the mother of the heart recipient and we are making plans to meet by the summer of 2018!333.png

Another blessing that Rylen left in our memories, was his SMILE. Because he always smiled, he quickly earned the name Smilin Rylen! After his passing, Rylen left us with signs to remember him by including the color ORANGE, because ORANGE makes you smile and is a happy color - which both define Rylen! We look daily for the ORANGE sunsets and Orange God Winks, which we sometimes call Rylen winks, to let us know he is looking down from above and is OH so proud of us, as we are OH so proud of him too!

We are grateful for our friends, family, and community who continually hold us up in prayers. We are thankful for an amazing God who through our tragedy, we have only grown stronger in our faith. And we are hopeful that because of Rylen’s gifts, others lives will grow and flourish, and Rylen will NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!!! He truly is our Smilin Rylen angel and is forever in our hearts!



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