Updated May 22, 2019 - 7:58 pm
When Michael “Mikie” Sigler got his motorcycle license this year, he registered as an organ donor, knowing that if he died doing what he loved, his organs would go to someone in need.
The crash came just a few months after he got that license, Sigler’s mother, Courtney Kaplan, said Tuesday night. The 18-year-old Cimarron-Memorial High School senior was riding his motorcycle when he was struck by a car just before 1:45 p.m. Friday on westbound Lake Mead Boulevard, near North Buffalo Drive, the Metropolitan Police Department said.
Sigler was critically injured, and he wouldn’t recover, Kaplan said. She knew he was an organ donor, but she didn’t know how important his organs are.
“Michael has one of the rarest blood types as far as organ donations go,” Kaplan said. “We found out that he’s able to help at least nine people live.”
Sigler was taken off life support on Wednesday morning. About 8 a.m., hospital staff at University Medical Center lined the hallways from Sigler’s room to an operating table. They watched as Sigler was wheeled to the doctors who would remove his organs, “kind of like how soldiers do when a fallen soldier comes through,” Kaplan said.
The hallways were silent save for the footsteps of his loved ones walking behind him, soft weeping and the rhythmic beeping of Sigler’s hospital bed.
At the end of their trek through the hospital, family members and loved ones said their goodbyes.
“Please know that we are in the presence right now of an angel,” said Sigler’s father, Charles Sigler, his right hand caressing his son’s injured head and his left over his own heart. “I’ll never be more grateful for anything than having been blessed in being his father.”
The “donor walk” was the first to be held at the hospital to honor someone whose organs are being donated, Sigler’s 43-year-old mother said.
“It’s going to be emotional,” she said Tuesday night. “I’m not sad; I miss him, but I feel like there’s a greater purpose here. That is where I’ve planted my flag, and that is where the purpose is for this tragedy.”
In a statement, hospital CEO Mason VanHouweling called Sigler a “true hero who will continue to touch the lives of others.”
“As we mourn the loss of a remarkable, compassionate young man, we must also celebrate his selfless decision to give the gift of life,” VanHouweling said.
Sigler, born and raised in Las Vegas, was the middle child in a family of five siblings. His three obsessions were reptiles — he kept snakes, lizards and tortoises in his room — video games and motorcycles, Kaplan said.
“He was always a good kid, respectful, smart,” she said. “But always very deep. There was always sort of an old soul feel to him.”
In the days since Sigler’s death, his mother has realized that he wasn’t as serious at school as he was at home. She only ever saw a few of his friends, but since Friday many fellow students have said how much of an effect he had on them.
They talked about “how much his smile lit up the room, or (how he) always held the door for the ladies,” Kaplan said. “He had that much of an impact on them and their outlook on life and their positivity. This is a different Mikie then we got to see at home.”
Growing up, Sigler rode on the back of his father’s Harley-Davidson, dreaming of his own motorcycle. In early 2019, after a year and a half of working at Pizza Hut and saving his money, he purchased a 20o9 Honda Shadow 750 motorcycle. About three months ago, he got his license at the DMV and registered as an organ donor.
Upon graduating, Sigler planned to apprentice at the Red Rock Harley-Davidson in the west valley to learn how to become a motorcycle mechanic. He was set to start Monday, Kaplan said.
He received his cap and gown the day of the crash. Sigler had just dropped the graduation regalia off at home when the crash happened. He was on his way to help his friend with homework.
Sigler’s brother, Christian, will walk at Sigler’s graduation ceremony Saturday and accept his diploma, Kaplan said.
“All of these little factors of his life just were moving forward,” she said. “The young man that was in the wreck with him, the young man in the vehicle, was in his senior class as well. There’s no winner here.”
Kaplan said she talked to the driver’s mother on Tuesday and stressed that she was not angry with him.
“I assured her with all my heart and soul that I have nothing but love for her son,” she said. “It’s a tragedy; it just is.”
An ‘orchestra’ of circumstances
Kaplan was calm and happy Tuesday night while talking about her son’s life, laughing occasionally at her memories. She said she was amazed at the “orchestra” of circumstances that led to the 18-year-old’s organs being candidates for donation, which has given her a sense of relief after realizing he wouldn’t survive.
When the crash happened, Sigler was wearing a helmet clipped to his head, but it was flung off during the initial impact, she said. His only major injury was to his brain. One of the first people to stop at the scene was a retired emergency medical technician, who started performing CPR before two nurses stopped to help.
He was taken to the hospital quickly enough for his organs to be preserved, Kaplan said.
“It only points to me in my heart that Michael had a purpose,” she said.
The family is holding a “celebration of life” ceremony at 2 p.m. Sunday at Celebration Church, 3630 N. Rancho Drive. A motorcycle ride from the church to the site of the crash will follow in honor of Sigler, Kaplan said.
How to help
A fundraiser has been created on Facebook to help Michael Sigler’s family pay for funeral costs. Any money leftover will be turned into a scholarship for Sigler’s best friend, who is close with the family, Sigler’s mother said. As of Tuesday night, $2,435 has been raised.