Family meets recipients of daughter's organs

June 9, 2010 2:31:58 PM PDT
A family today learned the true meaning of giving the gift of life.

Their 18-year-old daughter recently died, her organs donated and today the New Jersey family saw the difference their decision made in other lives.

Maria Pomavilla was 5 days away from her 18th birthday when, last April 19th, a hit and run driver took her life.

"Maria will always be a part of us. She will live in our hearts, and never be forgotten.," said her mother.

But in a tribute at her school, Eastside High, was less about her death and more about the lives she saved after her family donated their daughter's organs.

"A woman from Cleveland received a lung, a woman from New Jersey received a kidney and pancreas, and another man from New Jersey received the other kidney," said Melissa Honohan with Sharing Network.

Five people are alive because of Maria's gift. Two of those people were at the school to meet and thank her parents.

Suzanne Gonzalez, a mother of four is alive because she received a liver.

"For the last year, I was preparing to die, but in April I could once again embrace my family and live again," said Gonzalez.

Maria's heart now beats strongly in Darren Knox, a father of 3. "Only the grace of God can I say thank you," he said.

Maria's younger brother asked their parents to donate her organs because just a month before Maria died a retired police officer, a heart transplant success story spoke to Eastside students about the gift of life that saved him.

"I had no idea I'd be asked back to celebrate, to give tribute to Maria," said Steven Sims.

Her parents, devastated, sad, yet stoic accept a touch a kiss from two people that Maria saved.

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