Mother of organ donor shares story to encourage organ donation

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – New Mexico Donor Services is asking you to consider the giving the most important, priceless gift this holiday season by becoming an organ donor. 

KOB 4 talked to someone who’s seen how one decision can make a big difference. Now, she shares the story of a little boy who became a hero, and saved four lives.

“He was truly an angel on Earth. Yeah, my baby. I miss him,” said Antoinette Suina, mother of Joel Anthony Mumaw. 

In April 2017, 6- year-old Joel Anthony Mumaw lost his life in a tragic car crash at Eubank and Indian School, but not before giving four others a second chance at theirs.

“He loved heroes, and he’s a hero,” said Suina. “Two adults he saved with his kidneys and the 11-year-old boy he saved with his heart, and the 4-month-old baby he saved his liver.”

Organ donation was not something Suina spent a lot of time thinking about until it changed her life.

“This event forced us to have these conversations, important conversations,” said Suina. 

Now, she’s teaming up with New Mexico Donor Services to encourage others to “Be the Gift” and have those conversations with their loved ones too.

“I believe it’s important to have conversations about service and our purpose in life, and how we give back to one another how we help one another,” Suina said. 

“When people pass in a way that makes donation possible. It’s usually kind of sudden, and it’s not always, it’s not like a prolonged thing where you get to have these discussions,” said Celina Espinoza, external affairs director with the New Mexico Donor Services. “It’s really important that your family knows your wishes.”

Those with questions can ask donor services online, using the hashtag “Be the Gift,” they can also use it to share their own thoughts and experiences.

“Tell people that you’re a donor, tell people that you’ve understood what being a donor means. You can go to be the gift and download your own red bow and put a red bow emoji on a selfie, and share that on social media. And just really talk about the fact that being a registered organ donor is a giant gift,” said Espinoza. 

A gift you’re never too old or too young to give.

“I’m here because of my son’s gift of life,” Suina said. “I know in my heart, his donation, his gift of life, of love is exactly what he would have wanted.”

More than five years after her son’s passing, Suina says her daughter is following in her brother’s footsteps.

“My daughter is now recently got her permit a driver’s license. She was signing, she looked there and check marked yes, and showed me and, you know, we just, she was so proud of herself,” said Suina. “It’s a big deal. Yeah, it’s life changing.”

One person could save eight lives and heal up to 75 other people through organ and tissue donation.