Teen hero among dozens honored for life-saving organ donations in New Mexico

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – It’s been one month since an Albuquerque teenager died after saving his father from a house fire, but that wasn’t the only life he saved. On Tuesday night, he and dozens of others were honored for their organ donations.

At the Sawmill Market in Albuquerque, 88 luminarias were lit to honor state organ donors who helped give hundreds of people a second chance of life.

"We are honoring the gift of life," said Celina Espinoza with New Mexico Donor Services. "It’s just a gift that keeps on giving."

This year, the organization broke a new record for saving the most lives through organ donation.

“We are able to take somebody’s worst day and watch hope come out of it, really create a miracle,” Espinoza said.

Some of the luminarias had hand written notes from whose loved ones were saved, thanking the heroes. Katie

Cummings whose daughter was rescued by a donor three years ago was also at the memorial.

"It’s a blessing," Cummings said. "We haven’t met our donor but I would like for that family to be proud and to know they saved a young fabulous young girl’s life."

The family of 17-year-old Xaven Garcia were also at the memorial. It was in November when Garcia’s home caught fire and he pulled his father from the flames. But four days later, he died from his injuries.

"I still feel numb, proud, sad, confused, but we know that he is in a better place than we are,” said Xaven’s father Phillip Garcia. "He was a great kid, he will really be missed."

However, Xaven has now given four people that miracle of life by having his organs donated.

Garcia saying, "To give himself to help others, that’s one hell of a hero, I think," said Garcia.

Garicai lighted his son’s luminaria, saying just how proud he is of Xaven, "It’s just an honor being his parent.”

At this time, more than 700 people in New Mexico are currently waiting for lifesaving organ transplants, according to New Mexico Donor Services.

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