Little Brother’s Legacy Lives On

May 31, 2011 /

The early passing of Mel Resendiz inspired his family to register as organ donors.

By Noely Resendiz, Coachella Unincorporated

Organ donation is an undeniably difficult subject. I realize the difficulty in making that decision and the sensibilities involved. Yet when I recently applied for my identification card, there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to register as a donor.

My little brother, Mel, was born on April 19, 2005. Doctors didn’t give us much hope for his future. He was born with a hole in heart and only one kidney. We later found out he also suffered from DiGeorge Syndrome, a chromosomal deletion causing neuromuscular problems. Although he overcame many of the obstacles doctors said he would never accomplish — such as crawling, walking, eating, and learning words — he was struck by a series of seizures lasting over 24 hours. On July 2, 2008, doctors declared him brain dead.

Prior to the declaration of his death, doctors talked to my parents about the option of organ donation, something they had already thought about. The fact that my brother, our little angel, gave life to a dying child in need of a liver continues to fill my heart with much needed hope.

I can’t emphasize the importance of organ donation enough. According to Donate Life America, there are currently more than 100,000 people in the United States alone is waiting for the life-changing phone call that an organ donation has been found for them. A name is added to the national organ transplant waiting list approximately every 10 minutes, and 18 people on that list die every day. Most Americans say they support organ donation, but the reality is that less than half of Americans even know the necessary steps to take to be a donor.

Death is still a difficult issue for my entire family. Nobody is ever prepared to lose a loved one; even when everything possible to keep them alive fails, it’s difficult to wrap your mind around the fact that this person will no longer be tangible. The pain of losing my brother will never go away, but knowing that he saved another child’s life puts a smile on my face.

As the third anniversary of my brother’s passing approaches, I can’t help but reminisce about the journey we embarked on because of him: his birth, challenges, death, and organ donation. He was an extraordinary human being, one of my family’s biggest blessings, and he has inspired me and countless others to proudly register as organ donors.

Please join me and my family and register as organ donors. Take the first steps toward saving lives by registering at the Department of Motor Vehicles, or by visiting

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