remembering our

donor heroes

Mark Martinez

Mark was 15 years old when he got his driving permit and checked the box “yes” to become an organ donor. We had talked about it before, and he asked if he should do it. I told him I would never want anything to happen to him but, if it did, I would be happy to know there were little pieces of him out in the world. Fast forward a week later, Mark experienced a medical emergency while working out. As we drove to our local emergency room, he proceeded to decline and sadly his health deteriorated in such a way that I knew he was not just sore from his workout. The doctor concluded that he was experiencing a brain bleed and he was taken by helicopter to the University of New Mexico Hospital. Over the course of the following weeks, the doctors were unable to stop the swelling in his brain and Mark lost his fight. He was declared brain dead on June 24, 2020.

Shortly after his death, we were approached by New Mexico Donor Services about organ donation, and I knew we had to do it. I wanted those little pieces of him out there in the world. Losing my only child, my son, at 15 was too much to handle and I needed to honor his wishes and have something good come out of his death. I miss him every day. In January of 2021, I went back to school and the following year I entered the nursing program at San Juan college. I graduated in December of 2023 and passed my NCLEX. I work as a registered nurse in ED where I took mark to the hospital. I owe so much to my son Mark for helping me find my purpose and to the nurses at the University of New Mexico Hospital in the Neuro ICU for making the worst moment of my life bearable by caring so well for my son. I am so proud of my son for saving lives.

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Saying thank you

Many donor families find that corresponding with the transplant recipient or recipients can be a powerful experience. Donor families can take comfort in sharing stories and sending well wishes to those who live on because of their loved one.

Should you choose to connect, we're here to help. Letters and cards can be a tremendous gift to both the donor families and recipients. To protect everyone, we provide guidelines for communication. Names remain confidential unless both parties agree to share those with one another, and we provide a correspondence address. We are happy to share sample letters to help you get started.

For more information about corresponding with recipients, please call us at 505-843-7672.

We can only do it together

#BeTheGift that saves lives!

When you register as an organ, eye and tissue donor, you leave a lasting legacy and bring hope to those waiting.

To access the National Registry, click here.