Grieving a loss is never easy, but many families say that knowing their loved one helped save or improve other lives helps them cope with the loss. Fifteen-year-old Justin Molina was able to help more than 80 people by donating his organs and tissue.
Justin’s mother stood strong as she covered her son in mementos and prayed over him, preparing him for his honor walk at Community Regional Medical Center.
Marcella Corona is the senior community development liaison for Donor Network West. She explains, a tragic attack in the South Valley left Justin on life support once it was clear he would not recover from his injuries.
“His parents authorized him to become an organ and tissue donor,” said Marcella.
Donor Network West is a non-profit organ procurement organization that connects a donor’s gift to those in need.
Marcella shared, “For Fresno County we’re approximately 932 people awaiting a second chance at life for a life-saving organ transplant.”
With Justin’s donated organs, he will be saving seven lives and 75 people will heal through Justin’s tissue donation.
Dr. Arash Afshinnik is the Director of the Neuroscience ICU at Community Regional. He said, “When the family elects to proceed with donation, we want to support the family by showing them just how much is involved and just how everybody in the ICU has contributed to the care of their loved one. And in return, what we find is, families are quite moved by the presentation and they get to see how important their loved one was to us and how important the gift of life is to everybody.”
Dr. Afshinnik speaks to the importance of honoring organ donors, especially for the families.
“The honor walks are really an amazing opportunity for closure both for the medical team as well as the family… our partnership with Donor Network West is vital to the opportunity of providing families and their loved ones with the gift of donation,” Dr. Afshinnik continued.
Marcella added, “Donor Network West would not be able to serve our community if it were not for the partnership that we have with Community Regional… in terms of educating the community, ensuring that referrals are made for potential organ donation candidates.”
Justin’s mother said one last goodbye to her son. The heartwrenching video of Justin’s honor walk has been viewed more than a million times online. Marcella hopes it inspires people to register to be an organ donor.
“If you just think that this young person had such an impact at the end of his life to be able to give that second chance at life to others and bring awareness to the need for more people to consider organ and tissue donation at the end of one’s life,” ended Marcella.
If you would like to register to become an organ donor, click here.