Organ Recipient Celebrates Donor's Life

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The family of a Dallas teenager who was killed in a car crash met with the man who received his heart and kidney.

    Anthony Varela lives on in more than 100 other people one year after his death. The 18-year-old was killed by a 19-year-old drunken driver one year ago.

    Organ Recipient Reunites With Donor's Family

    [DFW] Organ Recipient Reunites With Donor's Family
    The father of two who received a Dallas teenager's heart and kidney met with the his family one year after his death. (Published Sunday, Aug 7, 2011)

    "I'm sad, but I'm happy that we were able to donate his organs," said Renee Varela, his mother. "He was able to save three people's lives. We know he served his purpose here, and his purpose was also to help other people, so he did that as well."

    Eric Ford, a husband and father of two children,  and his family came from Beaumont for a Mass in Anthony Varela's memory at St. Augustine Catholic Church.

    Ford and his family celebrated what he calls his new birthday -- he received Anthony Varela's heart and kidney two days after his death.

    "It's a beautiful thing," Ford said. "It's something you really can't put into words."

    Renee Varela said her son's other organs, bones and tissues went to 113 other people. She said she is strengthened by her connection to the people who now have a part of him.

    "[He was] just a very giving person. He was always happy, had so many dreams," she said.

    Her son dreamed of joining the Marines and going to college. Though he never got to fulfill those dreams, he granted the Ford family its wish for healing.

    Renee Varela said she hopes the story will come full circle; father now needs a liver in his battle against cancer.

    "So hopefully, we paid it forward, and someone will be able to help my dad at a second chance at life," she said.

    Anthony Varela's reach also went further than the more than 100 people he helped. Friends and co-workers of the organ recipients were so touched that they've decided to become organ donors, too.