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El Paso man killed in motorcycle accident gives the gift of life through organ donation

EL PASO, Texas -- An El Paso family is taking a tragedy and turning into something positive, not just for their family, but for several others.

Arturo Lopez was in a deadly motorcycle accident over the weekend after he lost control and crashed into a curb.

Although his family is mourning the loss of their loved one, they are also grateful he was able to help save the life of several others through organ donation.

For Arturo's daughters Paulina and Karla Lopez, their dad was always the life of the party.

"He would walk into any room and just light it up," said Karla, "He was the center of attention."

Arturo was also a very dedicated blood donor.

"He was O negative, a universal blood donor," said Paulina.

It was that universal blood type that would help Arturo save the life of two people close to him.

"I never really thought that we would be in this situation where being part of an organ donation would be a part of our grieving process," said Paulina.

After the passing of their father, Paulina and Karla took on the task of looking for people who were in need of organ donations.

"From the beginning we were told we had the option of having some sort of influence to who the organs would go to. I don't think that I ever realized that people in our own circle were in need of organs," said Paulina.

One of those people would be ABC-7 Iris Lopez's uncle, Willie Lopez (no relation to Arturo), who had been waiting for a kidney for 6-years.

"To tell you the truth, I didn't think we were going to be able to find a kidney," said Maria Lopez, Willie Lopez's wife.

When Willie's brother, Oscar Lopez, heard about the tragic death of his cousin, Arturo, and that his organs were going to be donated, he made a tough decision.

"That's when I called them and I said, 'Maria you really need to go down there and see what's going on," said Oscar.

Having to ask a family member who just lost a loved one if they could be the recipients of their organs is something no one is ever prepared for.

But when it comes to family, giving the gift of life to another family member is an easy decision.

"That's when your aunt and uncle walked into the room and your aunt was like, he's been on dialysis and I said what organ do you need," said Karla.

"We started crying and she said, 'my god my uncle needs a kidney, you can have it it's yours'," said Maria through tears.

But it wasn't just Willie's life that was saved through Arturo's organs.

Luis Cruz had been waiting for a kidney for 4-years. His daughters, Jessica and Erika were close family friends to Arturo's two daughters. Cruz would be the recipient of Arturo's second kidney.

"Like my sister said, it's a miracle. You don't hear these stories of being able to keep both kidneys in El Paso," said Jessica.

For Arturo's daughters, knowing that their dad was going to be able to make a difference in other's lives has been the light at the end of the tunnel.

Paulina and Karla are almost positive that their dad would be proud of the fact that he was able to save the lives of others.

"My dad would be standing over your uncle and telling him, you're welcome, I did this!"

The family of Willie Lopez created a GoFund me account during his search for a new kidney. If you would like to donate to his medical costs click here.

The transplants happened at the Kidney Transplant Center at Las Palmas Medical Center.

El Paso / News / Top Stories / Video

Iris Lopez

Iris Lopez is a weathercaster and reporter for ABC-7.


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