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How one SA teenager saved 5 lives - and how you could too

SAN ANTONIO -- From tragedy comes a legacy of saving lives. A local teenager was honored for donating his organs.

Marc Elizondo died after a recent car crash, but he continues to help others, even in death.

One by one, family and friends, doctors and nurses, would gently touch the Donate Life flag, before gathering outside, under University Hospital's flagpole. Their thoughts and prayers are being raised along with the flag in memory of Marc Elizondo.

"He was just the most important person to me," said sister Clare Elizondo.

And in memory of his incredible gift to others.

"Five Texans lives were saved through the donations he was able to give,” said Jennifer Milton, Executive Director of University Transplant Center. “Two people will have their sight restored through the donation and transplantation of corneas, and over 50 people's lives will be restored through the donations of donated tissues through the restoration of their quality of life."

Elizondo, a first-year student at Texas A&M and former salutatorian at Antonian High School, died of injuries sustained in a car accident last week. At 19, he was known as a scholar and a tennis player with a strong Catholic faith and caring nature. Because of that, his big sister says the family wasn't surprised to learn he registered as an organ donor when he first got his driver’s license.

"To help out these people that we don't even know; he was very selfless like that,” said Clare. “I think today made him happy."

The Texas Organ Sharing Alliance says 170 donors like Marc provided healthy tissue to 568 recipients this past year in South Texas.

A biomedical engineering student, Elizondo was eager to find a cure for a chronic illness he himself suffered from. He may not have had time to achieve that dream... but his mother says his organ donations are ensuring others will continue to pursue theirs.

"Of course we are so happy for them, that they will be able to keep their loved ones,” said mom Arleen Elizondo. “Marc gave them this gift, just to treasure every day."

Marc's Funeral Mass will be Saturday.

Marc's family has created the Marc Elizondo Memorial Fund, establishing a scholarship to support students at Texas A&M. The fund can be found https://www.gofundme.com/marcelizondo. Or, a contribution can be made at Cadence Bank - San Antonio Branch, 10003 NW Military Highway, Suite 3207, San Antonio, TX 78231, (210) 764-5500.

To sign up to be a donor, check out the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance website.

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