SAN CLEMENTE (CBSLA.com) — A San Clemente teen’s dying wish meant many people could live.
Connor Eckhardt’s parents are mourning his passing but also celebrating his legacy and the gifts he left others. They won’t be the only ones celebrating his selflessness.
Eckhardt will be honored at the upcoming Tournament of Roses Parade’s on the “Donate Life” float that celebrates organ donation.
KCAL9’s Michele Gile spoke to his proud parents who, today, put the final touches on his flora-graph — and image of their son made from floral products.
Eckhardt, 19, died after taking one hit of the synthetic drug known as Spice.
His dad said a year before his son died, Connor told him that he wanted to help others and donate his organs, if anything ever happened to him.
“I wanna do the same thing,” said Devin Eckhardt, “if I die, someday, I don’t need [my organs.] As a parent you never dream that it’s going to be when they’re a child, or when they’re still in their teens or young.”
The family showed Gile 2014 home video of their sons organs being flown from Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach.
The recipients of Eckhardt’s donations have not been made public, but his family said four people are now surviving with the teen’s heart, pancreas and kidneys.
By chance, his mom, Veronica, got the news about his gifts on her birthday.
“It was the best gift I could have gotten for my birthday,” she said. “It told us that each person received the gift of life from Connor was doing well and was thriving. And I had tears of joy. What had been tears of pain, became tears of joy.”
Family, and the doctors and nurses who treated Eckhardt, also had a hand in the finishing touches of the flora-graph.