LANCASTER – Emily Tovar Echeverria — an 11-year old Lancaster girl who died after a hit-and-run traffic crash last month –was able to save five lives after her death, thanks to organ donation.
The lives saved included a boy and a girl, who received Emily’s liver and heart; a teenage girl, who received one of Emily’s kidneys after thinking she would die while on dialysis; a woman in her 30s who received Emily’s lungs; and a man in his 40s who spent nearly nine years on dialysis before receiving Emily’s other kidney and pancreas, according to OneLegacy, the federally designated organ recovery organization serving the greater Los Angeles area.
“We would like to express our most sincere condolences to Emily’s parents and family. Words cannot express the pain of losing a child at such a young age, and we hope they will find comfort in Emily’s legacy of life, as she lives on in those she saved through organ donation” stated OneLegacy’s CEO Tom Mone.
Emily’s mom, Guadalupe, issued the following statement:
“Our family is grateful for having Emily in our lives during her short stay in this earth. Emily was a very bright and amazing girl. She was a straight-A, honor roll student at her school, and she was very kind and giving, always offering help to others and lending a hand to those in need. She loved to read books and her young mind was always eager to enjoy new and amazing stories.
Her love for books and reading and her commitment with learning had no limits. A very funny and adorable moment we remember of our Emily is when on one summer vacation day, Emily was doing her summer reading homework, and she remembered on a Friday night that she missed to bring a book she needed to complete her school assignment. She began to desperately ask me to go back to her school to get that book. Even though she knew school was closed for the summer, she could not stop crying. She even suggested jumping the fence. It took us a while to calm her down. On the first day back to school, I went and talked to her teacher about the homework situation, and we both laugh to see the kind of imagination, and how dedicated to her education my Emily was.
Emily will always be in our memories and in our hearts. We feel blessed to have had her come into our lives even when it was only for a short time. It gives us strength and comfort to see how she will continue living on through others. My Emily came to this world to make a change in me, and she left this world making a change in others.”
Emily passed away July 20 at Children’s Hospital, days after a two-vehicle crash at 20th Street East and Lancaster Boulevard. Both vehicles were disabled after the crash, and Emily was a passenger in one of the vehicles.
The driver of the other vehicle, 25-year-old Eduardo Medrano Jr., fled the scene. He turned himself in to the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station on July 21 and was arrested on suspicion of felony hit-and-run.
Medrano was charged July 25 with murder, hit-and-run resulting in death or serious injury to another person and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, according to Sarah Ardalani of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. He is scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 22 at the Antelope Valley Courthouse.
In her 11 years of life, Emily was able to have a deep impression on many people, according to her friends and family.
They said Emily was a protective and loving older sister to her 4-month-old brother, a kind sister to her 20-year-old brother, and a loving daughter to her mom, as well as an amazing kid to her aunts, uncles and cousins. At school and in her After School program, Emily was adored by teachers and students alike, and she will be greatly missed by many, according to her family.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by their family to help cover Emily’s medical and burial costs. To donate to this cause, visit https://www.gofundme.com/emily-tobar-echeverria.
For more information about OneLegacy, visit www.OneLegacy.org. Those wishing to make the commitment to donate may register online at www.donatecalifornia.org or its Spanish-language counterpart, www.doneVIDAcalifornia.org.
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