Son Followed Mother’s Advice, Saved Two Lives Through Donation
Donor’s Parents Encourage Hispanic Community to Register as Organ and Tissue Donors
Rosa and Carlos Murillo suffered the devastating loss of their son Carlos A. Murillo on July 16, 2018, after he suffered a stroke at his family’s home. He was 29. Carlos A. was a registered organ and tissue donor, a decision his parents honored to help others in need. As an organ donor, Carlos saved the lives of a female in her 50s and a man in his 20s. His tissue gifts will also continue saving and enhancing the lives of many others.
Carlos A. wasn’t always certain he wanted to become a donor. When he first obtained his Illinois state ID, he did not opt to become a registered donor. When he arrived home and showed his ID to his mother, she asked him why he hadn’t.
“Why wouldn’t you want to offer life to someone in need?” Rosa asked him. “Why do we want our organs if we’re gone and someone else can benefit from them?” she insisted. Her son replied, “OK Rosita, you’re right. I’ll register when I get my driver’s license.”
True to his promise, Carlos joined the national organ/tissue donor registry when he got his license and he shared the news with his mother. Although she was pleased with his decision, Rosa emphasized to her son that donation was a personal choice and asked him if he was certain it was what he wanted. Carlos A. responded, “I thought a lot about what you said, and I agree, it’s the right thing to do.”
The Right Thing to Do
Carlos A’s parents also feel strongly that sharing their family’s donation experience to help increase awareness among the Hispanic community about the significance and importance of registering as organ and tissue donors is the right thing to do.
“Donations and transplants happen in Mexico, but I feel it isn’t as promoted as it is here,” said Rosa. Carlos Sr. added, “Maybe it has to do with people’s faith, but we know now that the Catholic faith supports donation as a loving humanitarian gesture and gift.”
Rosa and Carlos Sr. have always believed organ and tissue donation is a beautiful thing to do, but they never thought they’d experience it so soon and so intimately.
The day Carlos A. suffered the stroke, his mother found him lying on the bathroom floor unresponsive.
“It had been a busy day,” Rosa said. “I later found out that he had not been feeling well, but I had no idea. I had taken him to the hospital once before due to his high blood pressure, but this was different.”
She called 911 and an ambulance rushed him to a local hospital. That same day, he was transferred to Rush University Medical Center in Chicago where doctors pronounced him brain dead and where his parents ultimately had a conversation with a Gift of Hope staff member about donation.
“Jose Noyola from Gift of Hope explained that, as a registered donor, Carlos’ donation process would begin soon, and he outlined the next steps,” Carlos Sr. said. “He wanted to make sure that he answered all of our questions, and we appreciated that.”
A Beautiful Caring Soul
Rosa and Carlos Sr. chose to have and raise their children in the United States because they wanted to give them a better life. They worked hard to instill values in them that would shape them into positive contributors to society.
“We raised all of our children to be respectful, empathetic, responsible, humble, and grateful,” Rosa said. “Carlos was all of those things.”
Carlos A. may be gone physically, but his family feels his spirit and energy are always close by in various inexplicable, sweet, and humorous manifestations, which they welcome.
“One of my nieces in Mexico, who had never met any of us, relayed a dream she had of Carlos to one of my sisters,” said Rosa. “Her dream contained details about my son and the family that she couldn’t possibly have known, and she shared messages on Carlos’ behalf with us that reminded us all about the beautiful caring soul he’d always been.”
Rosa and her husband recently visited their son’s grave, prayed the Rosary, and reflected on Carlos A’s gifts and how his giving spirit continues in those he helped save.
“My son was a healthy, noble and loving young man,” Carlos Sr. said. “We knew he could help, and it was worth it. He was very generous, so donation honored who he was.”
Rosa and her husband urge the Hispanic community not to fear donation and to have the conversation about donation with loved ones so that when the time comes, they can make the best decision.
“It’s a blessing knowing that your loved one is helping others,” said Rosa. “People need that hope and so many of them die waiting because there aren’t enough organs. We hope our Hispanic community and others continue to support donation.”
Carlos A. is survived by his loving parents, and his siblings, Brian and Georgina. He is also profoundly missed by his fiancée, Crystal Farias, who he loved deeply and planned to start a family with.
Join the Organ and Tissue Donor Registry by Clicking Here or Texting HOPE to 51555.