Emily Ramm was an ambitious teenager with great dreams for her future. Unfortunately at only sixteen years old, her life was cut short. It was on August 13 when Ramm fell off a ladder while stargazing with friends. It was a fall she would never wake up from.
In line with Ramm's wishes, all of her organs were donated.
Emily's family gathered on Saturday for her memorial service. One of the guests at the teen's funeral was able to give the family a little bit of light in such a time of darkness.
Daniel Mendoza is a U.S. Army veteran who was lucky enough to receive one of Emily's kidneys. Mendoza has been on the waiting list for a transplant for more than four year and had a kidney function of less than 5 percent before getting the transplant.
The day after Mendoza's surgery proved to be successful, Emily's aunt Tara Vasey reached out to the veteran.
“I sent him this: ‘My name is Tara Vasey. I'm Emily Ramm's aunt. I hear you may have received her kidney,'” explained Vasey.
Mendoza was quick to reply.
“He told me he’d honor her and keep her safe,” said Vasey. “He told me ‘Tara, she's going to be good with me. I promise you. I will always care for her. I will always be healthy.'"
Mendoza served 27 months in Iraq. Many of his doctors believe that he became so sick after prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals during his time in service. The veteran shared that many of his comrades also came back with kidney issues and some came back with cancer.
“I'm just so thankful that I did get the chance, basically a second chance at life, I guess,” said Mendoza.
“He's a veteran. He gave us a lot of him. To be able to give it back to him, makes us feel good as a family," said Vasey.
Mendoza displayed his utmost respect and gratefulness to Emily's family on Saturday.
“I wasn’t going to come, but at the last minute this morning I was like, you know what, I’m sure they’d appreciate if I went,” Mendoza told the news station. “It was touching. It kind of grounded me there.”
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