12-year-old gives gift of life

Jeffrey De Guzman
Jeffrey De Guzman
Josh De Guzman
Josh De Guzman

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

EWA BEACH (KHNL) - It's a gift of a lifetime, but one some may be hesitant to give. The Organ Donor Center says in Hawaii more than 380 people are on the waiting list.

A father shares his story of how the death of his son brought new life to others and to his family.

It has been 13 years since Jeffrey De Guzman's son passed away. In the family's home, 12-year-old Josh De Guzman's Waianae Tigers football helmet and jersey are on display.

In his father's eyes, De Guzman is still very much alive.

"His cornea was transplanted into a 4 month old child that was blind so he gave her sight," said Jeffrey De Guzman.

De Guzman lost his son to a car accident on February 21, 1996 while on his way to his uncle's funeral.

"Because he was brain dead, the chance of him living was zero. The last that we saw him, he was on life support, and we said our goodbyes," he said.

It was at that dark hour, the family had to make a decision they weren't emotionally prepared to make. But Josh's shining personality shed some light.

"He just had this spunk about him. He just loved life," De Guzman said.

And passing that love on to others, De Guzman decided, overshadowed any doubts.

"A chance to maybe help someone else with his organs just sounded like something he would have wanted to do," he said.

While time has helped but not fully healed his family's loss, De Guzman says he finds comfort in their decision, knowing several others carry his son's spirit.

"And he lives on. And we're really proud of him," said De Guzman.

De Guzman's cousin happens to be Dennis Cuizon. He was the heart recipient KHNL featured in February, who had a transplant last year. So De Guzman says his family's come full circle - twelve years after Josh donated, his uncle received.