Mom honors organ-donor son

August 5, 2008 3:22:56 PM PDT
A tragic accident ended the life of a New Castle county teen, but his spirit lives on tonight after organ donations to 5 desperately sick people. Now the victim's mother is meeting the folks who are alive because of her son.

Chris Heiber was just 18 years old when he died after an accidental shooting in 1999.

But his legacy is living on in a number of ways.

One big way is on this billboard above the Newport Auto Center.

Pat Heiber, Chris's mother, asked her boss to donate the billboard so that she could promote organ donation.

Chris was an organ donor - whose gift of life helped five other people.

"There was nothing I could do to save my son. But to be able to be a mother and say my son saved five other peoples' lives before he died, is an awesome thing and something to really be proud of," said Heiber.

Nilsa Edmonds received Chris's liver. Without it she never would've lived to see her grandchildren.

"Before you just take life for granted. I don't do that no more, especially with my grandkids. I have them constantly," said Edmonds.

Organ donations are usually anonymous - but both Nilsa and Pat wanted to meet, so the Gift of Life donor program made the arrangements.

"It was hard because I was thinking of her loss and then in my new life, you don't know what to say but thank you," Edmonds said.

Now, Pat is godmother to Nilsa's grandchildren, and she was the one who gave Nilsa her silver medal at the Transplant Games in Pittsburgh last month. Pat has also met the 61-year-old man who got Chris's heart.

"My whole goal was just to put my head on his chest and just listen to that heart beat one more time, and I got to do that," Heiber said.

5,300 people in the tri-state area are awaiting organ transplants right now.

To find out more, contact the Gift of Life organ program.

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