Mother of man murdered in Salinas meets recipient of son's organs

Mother of man murdered in Salinas meets recipient of sons organs

SAN JOSE, Calif. - The mother of 19-year-old Devante Arias got to hear his heart beat again Friday, seven years after he was murdered in Salinas.

Yolanda Espinoza got to meet the recipient of her son's heart and kidney at Regional Medical Center of San Jose. It was there she met Laji Kattungal of Oakland just before the unveiling of the hospital's Wall of Hope, a mobile exhibit featuring those affected by organ and tissue donation. That includes Arias' story.

Arias was killed by a random shooter while he was washing his car in front of his house. He was a high school graduate who was involved in football and wanted to join the military, but his organ donation was able to help somebody in need.

Kattungal had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a heart condition that led to the need for a heart and caused him to go into kidney failure. He recieved the new organs during the holidays in 2012, and as a result he was able to go home for Christmas and get back to work within six months. Since then, he got back to traveling, gardening and playing badminton.

According to Donor Network West, 10,000 people in northern California and Nevada are waiting for organ transplants. They say one donor can save eight people and tissue can help 75 more.

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