The distressed family said that knowing their son was able to save lives with his decision, has helped make this difficult time a little easy
A teenager from New Mexico was hailed a hero after putting his life at risk to save his family who was stuck in a house fire. Although he managed to rescue them in time, 17-year-old Xaven Garcia did not survive the ordeal. But even after his death, the high school senior from Albuquerque continues to save lives thanks to his status as an organ donor.
According to The Albuquerque Journal, a fire raged in Xaven's family home on November 14. The teen's father, Phil Garcia, revealed that he and his son had fallen asleep on the couch that night while watching football. Later that night, Phil woke up and decided to lie down on his own bed, leaving Xaven on the couch. The next thing he knew, his son was desperately trying to wake him up saying that the house was on fire.
Teen Who Died Saving His Family from Fire Saves More Lives as Organ Donor: 'He's a Hero' Says Dad https://t.co/aLqbNoUhNe— Jennifer Gould (@jennifergould) November 22, 2021
"I was kind of in a daze, I couldn't really wake up," recalled Phil. "So, he literally grabbed me and started pulling me out of the house." Once out, the father frantically began worrying about Xaven's sister, who he thought was still inside. But she was still at work and that skipped Phil's mind. So, he ran back inside the house to rescue her but asked his teen son not to follow him.
Once inside the burning house, Phil said he collapsed. This prompted the young man to go in so that he could get him out a second time and that's when the tragedy happened. "He probably ran in to go grab me again. And the smoke overtook him," recalled Phil of the heartbreaking moment of his son's death.
"They think that he died pretty much instantly because the black soot [that] filled his lungs and killed him instantly," he said. "There were no signs of him struggling or suffering in any way, shape or form." Later, Albuquerque Fire Rescue spokesman Tom Ruiz said that investigators were "looking into the matter" but noted that the blaze was in fact accidental in nature.
Following the incident, Xaven was rushed to a hospital where he was kept on life support. Unfortunately, he did not survive and passed away last week. But despite his death, he was able to help others by donating his organs. According to PEOPLE, the boy's family found out that organ donation was a cause close to his heart in the days before his demise.
"We were watching something on TV and I was pulling something out of my wallet, and I've got nimble fingers, dropped it, and my license popped out," Phil told NBC affiliate KOB. When Xaven asked about the heart symbol on his ID, "I told him it was for, to be an organ donor if something tragic happened. And he just looked at me and goes, 'I'm gonna get that done,'" he shared.
The young man had also signed up to be a donor soon after he got his learner's permit. "He's a hero to all of us," said his grief-stricken father while speaking to CBS and Fox affiliate KRQE. The staff at UNM Hospital orchestrated a special honor walk before wheeling the teen in for the donation. "We've never even heard of anything like this, but to see all the doctors, the administration, the nurses, the whole entire wing of the ICU department, it seemed like the whole entire hospital was there," said Phil. "It's an amazing, amazing thing."
The distressed family said that knowing their son was able to save lives with his decision, has helped make this difficult time a little easy. "It makes your family feel at peace knowing you're saving another life," expressed Xaven's stepmother Stacey. While the family does not know who will be receiving Xaven's organs, it's likely that the teen's kidneys, spleen, and other tissues will help save up to eight lives.
"I believe his heart went to Colorado, his liver went to another 17-year-old boy in New York state," revealed his father. "I just hope that whoever the participants are that get my son's organs, that they really cherish every moment of life. They are so blessed to have what they're getting," he said during an interview with KRQE.
Cover image source: GoFundMe | Funeral for Xaven Garcia