Stories of Hope: Edward “Lalo” Alcantar

laloviolenEdward Ray “Lalo” Alcantar was a smart young man with many interests and talents. In school, he showcased his athletic ability as a soccer player for the Porterville Futbol Club and his musical artistry as a violinist in the Harmony Academy Advance Orchestra and Porterville Mariachi Academy. Lalo was born into a very large family and loved spending time with his cousins and friends; he befriended everyone who crossed his path.

On September 9, 2010, after a swim in the pool for high school gym class, Lalo complained to his classmates and teachers that he wasn’t feeling well and had pain in his chest and legs. Teachers called an ambulance and Lalo was rushed to the hospital. He passed away the next morning. He was 15.

When asked about donating her son’s tissues and corneas, Lydia Alcantar recalled that Lalo had told her he wanted to be a donor if anything happened to him. He had been inspired by a character receiving a cornea transplant on a television show. “What do I need my eyes for?” he asked. “Why not let someone else see all the beautiful and gorgeous things I’ve seen?”

Lydia recalled that “We had gone to Hawaii, Mexico, stood outside the White House in Washington, D.C., visited Gettysburg and experienced Amish country in Pennsylvania. Someone else is now looking at the world through his gorgeous brown eyes.”

In addition to his corneas, Lalo’s gifts of bone and tissue are helping countless others to lead more fulfilling and healthy lives.

Today, Lydia works for the California Department of Motor Vehicles, through which people have the opportunity to register to be organ and tissue donors. She tells people, especially parents with children, who think about checking the “YES!” box that she didn’t expect her son to pass away, but is glad she knew he wanted to be a donor. Lydia and her brother also volunteer as Donate Life Ambassadors.

“Lalo’s life may seem too short by many,” Lydia asserted. “But those who were touched by him understand that the quality of existence far exceeds the quantity of time in which you live it.”

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