Ruben Parker Pacheco was one of 4 teenagers killed in a horrific wreck on Highway 431 a year ago this week. But in his death, 6 other people found life.
18-year-old Ruben’s organs were donated, according to a story that ran on the statewide news website al.com. The family received a letter from the Alabama Donor Center indicating these donations were made after Ruben’s death on July 14:
• The heart went to a 56-year-old man on July 16.
• The right lung went to a 45-year-old woman on July 16.
• The left kidney went to a 37-year-old woman on July 17.
• The right kidney went to a 33-year-old woman on July 17.
• The liver went to a 61-year-old woman on July 17.
• The pancreas went to a 45-year-old woman on July 17.
• In addition, bone tissue from Reuben was used to help a number of people with various defects and degenerative diseases, as well as being used in research.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Pacheco’s sister, Samantha Maloney, said of her brother’s organ donation. “To see one of the recipients, a 33-year-old woman at end-stage kidney disease got his kidney. Me, being a mother, I can imagine if I were dying and my life was given back, that’s something you can never repay.”
Inspired by her brother, Ms. Maloney has talked to others about being an organ donor. She talked about it in her speech class at Northeast Community College this past year.
She said the most touching commitment to be a donor came from her own 7-year-old son Bryson Cornelius.
“If something were to ever happen to me, I would want to do that,” he told his mother.
She still misses her brother and struggles with the loss.
“I really try to block it,” she said. “I have my moments where it gets to me. My two boys were close to him and they will constantly say things like they miss him.”
Ms. Maloney also continues to share with others the dangers of riding in the bed of a pickup truck. It especially unnerves her to see children riding in the back of a truck.