RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — The grandmother of a 14-year-old boy who was slain more than a year ago met for the first time on Thursday the man who received one of his organs.
Bernice Hobdy’s grandson, Lareanz Simmons, was shot and killed just feet from his Riverside home in February 2012.
His kidney was donated to Alejandro Valenzuela.
Valenzuela, who speaks little English, said through his wife that Simmons saved his life.
“He was on his last stage of his life. He was for 12 years [on] dialysis … with no hope,” Maria Valenzuela said.
The Valenzuelas said they know the donation was not an easy decision.
“We know it was really hard for your family and it was very difficult for us, too,” Maria told Hobdy.
“I know my grandson would want you to have it. So, I just hope and pray that you’re OK,” Hobdy said.
Simmons’ slaying remains unsolved. The Riverside Poly High School student was an ROTC cadet. Police said he did not have gang ties.
Simmons’ grandmother said she takes comfort in the fact that her grandson lives on.
“Lareanz, he’s still alive, really. I just can’t see him, that’s all,” Hobdy said.