MODESTO (CBS13) — Modesto teen Erika Preciado,16, got a piece of her father back Tuesday when she met one of the people he saved through organ donation.
Her father, Erik Sandoval-Preciado, was killed in a carjacking 12 years ago.
“We got to the hospital and they told us what happened to my dad and my whole family’s heart just broke,” Preciado said.
But his organs lived on, saving the lives of four people, including Ramiro Cruz.
“He’s just so grateful. I’m grateful my dad was able to do that for him,” said Preciado.
Not only did Preciado meet the man whose life her father saved, but she also heard her father’s heart beating for the first time that she can remember.
“I just figured ‘oh it’s like another heartbeat’ but when I actually heard it, it was crazy. I knew something was different about it,” Preciado said.
There are more 100,000 people on the national transplant waiting list, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services. On average, 20 people die each day waiting for a transplant. Now Preciado is making it her mission to continue her father’s legacy and his message.
“I want to make a change because saving another life is a miracle,” Erika said.