Family donates organs of Gaston Co. teen who died after horseback riding accident

A 15-year-old Gaston County girl severely injured after a horseback riding accident Saturday has died, Carolinas Healthcare System confirmed Monday morning.

Destiny Stafford was riding Saturday when she was thrown from her horse and kicked in the head. She was transported to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte and placed on life support. She was pronounced brain dead early Monday morning and her family intends to donate her organs, her mother said on Facebook Monday.

Destiny's mother shared Tuesday the following recipients who will receive her daughter's organs: A 14-year-old girl will receive Destiny's lungs, 5-month-old and 1-year-old girls will receive her liver and a 17-year-old boy will receive Destiny's heart.

Destiny's family made the following statement with the donor announcement: "We want to express our deepest appreciation for all the love and support we have received from our family, friends, community and the staff of the Levine Children’s Hospital. It has comforted us during a time of indescribable grief and sorrow. As we have gone through some difficult decisions no family ever wants to make, in the forefront of our thoughts has been the question, “what would Destiny want?”  The answers are guided by her Christian faith, and her gentle, kind and generous spirit."

Hundreds gathered Sunday night outside Stuart Cramer High School, where Stafford would have started the tenth grade in August. She was previously co-caption of the Junior Varsity cheerleader squad.

“Our entire school family is deeply saddened and heartbroken by the tragic loss of one of our students," the Gaston County School systems said in a released statement. "Our thoughts are with her family during this very difficult time.”  

Since Saturday, supporters have been posting to Twitter using the hashtag #destinystrong. A memorial fund has been created in her honor.

Destiny's mother posted her daughter's service arrangements to Facebook Wednesday. The visitation for Destiny will be held at First Assembly of God in Gastonia Friday, July 31, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and a celebration of her life will be Saturday, August , at 1 p.m. with a graveside service at Evergreen cemetery.