Stories of Hope: Julio Villegas Jr


Julio Villegas, Jr. was born on September 2, 1987. Throughout his childhood and into his early teen years, he was a very giving child with a big heart. He was always helping someone. His friends describe Julio as sincere, unselfish, compassionate, loving, independent, courageous, daring, determined and forgiving.

On October 16, 2003, Julio was murdered in a drive-by shooting. “I will never forget the last moments before he left the house. He gave me a kiss on my cheek and said, ‘I love you Momma’. Those were the last words my son ever spoke to me,” said Michelle, his mother. He laid in a hospital bed for three days on ventilator support. Michelle and her husband spoke about organ donation and the hospital contacted OneLegacy, the region’s organ donation agency. Julio donated his kidneys, liver and his corneas, the latter of which granted two people the gift of sight.

After his death, Michelle went to his school to turn in his books and one of his teachers gave her a paper Julio had written just the day before he was shot. He was asked to write about his dreams; in the paper he wrote that he didn’t have dreams, he only had goals. His first goal was to graduate from high school and get his diploma. His second goal was to get a good job just so his family could have a better income and have everything we need. His third goal was to become a probation officer so he could help young kids do better in life.

Michelle discussed how the paper reflected Julio’s personality. “These were my son’s goals. Although he will never be able to achieve these goals, his gift of organ donation has now given someone else a chance to accomplish theirs. His gift of life shows how sincere, unselfish, compassionate, loving, courageous, determined, and forgiving my son really was. He will always be loved and cherished and never forgotten. We love you, son.”

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