Teen donates organ after death; helps save boy with underdeveloped kidneys

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- April is National Donate Life Month, and hospitals all over the Valley have been raising awareness about donation. On Tuesday, Phoenix Children's Hospital hosted two very special families who were able to tell their story of hope and healing through donation.

These two families were brought together because of organ donation. One family suffered the loss of their daughter, and that loss helped another family save their son. On Tuesday, the two families met for the first time.

Zoe Mar was a bright and talented young girl. She loved performing and helping others, and nearly two years, ago she helped then five-year-old Jovani Perez live.

"We can see so many traits in him that reminds us of Zoe," said Zoe's father, Bob Mar.

Zoe suffered a brain aneurysm and sadly passed away at the age of 16. Bob and Zoe's mother, Trena Mar, says donating her organs was their way of helping Zoe continue to give even after her death.

"It just came over us that, that's what she would have wanted. Her heart was to help people so that's a better way," said Bob.

Jovanni, who once had underdeveloped kidneys, is now seven years old and thriving, thank's to Zoe's gift.

"I don't know how you say thank you to someone who saved your child's life," said Amber Perez, Jovanni's mother. "It's crazy. In their darkest hour, they chose to give life. We racked our brains for months on how do you say thank you for that."

"For me, it was part of Zoe living on and amazing, a miracle, a blessing," said Trena. I don't know what you'd call it, but she would have wanted this, and to just see Jovanni in his activeness and having fun, it just helps us keep her memory alive."

"Just feels like you're going to meet a celebrity or superhero," said Ben Perez, Jovanni's father. "When I thought about it, you are. They are a superhero. It's just nice to let them know you appreciate it."

Zoe's lungs, liver and both kidneys were donated, helping to save four people. In the United States, there's about 114,000 people currently on the waiting list for a life-saving organ transplant.

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