ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) -
A New Mexico family celebrated the life of an 18-year-old on Saturday who died because of drug use, but his death brought life to a handful of others.
Patrick Martinez, 18, died in 2009 after slipping into a coma following repeated heroin use.
The Eldorado High School graduate loved to golf and snowboard according to his mother. His friends say he was an energetic and hopeful person who always pushed them to succeed.
To honor his memory and final whish, they gathered at a park in the Northeast Heights where a tree was planted in Patrick's honor. They prayed, released balloons and exclaimed how Patrick will always be remembered for his final gift. The gift of life.
Patrick chose to donate his organs before he died, and with April being Donate Life month to promote organ donation, supporters say it's the perfect time to spotlight his story.
"His heart went to a 12-year-old little boy. It was a 15-year-old boy who got a double lung transplant, and there was a man who got his liver," Gloria Martinez-Otero, Patrick's mother said.
The recipients of her son's organs are from all over the United States, and the two women who received Patrick's kidneys are from Albuquerque. His mother hopes to meet them some day and thank them for honoring his son's life.
"There are over 100,000 people in this country waiting for a life-saving transplant right now and about 700 to 8,00 people in the state waiting for a transplant," explained New Mexico Donor Service's Executive Director Patricia Tencza.
The Martinez family hopes people will take those statistics to heart and sign up to donate their organs.
"I think it's real important as far as organ donation that if there's an opportunity, to share life with others," Eric Martinez Patrick's brother said.
"I'm very proud of him," said his mother. "I honor the people he gave life too, and I know they're taking good care of his organs and living a better life. I think Patrick would be really happy with that."
To learn more about Donate Life or become an organ donor click here