PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — The mother of a 15-year-old Pinellas Park boy, who tragically died after being shot back in August, says he is living on in others.
NicQue Mayhew says Eli Mayhew donated his organs to six people, saving their lives. She says every single day is a struggle.
"You just wake up every day and try to breathe," said Mayhew. "It’s easy to feel sad, it’s hard to find happiness when your whole world has been disrupted and your heart breaks."
Detectives originally said the boy accidentally shot himself, but Mayhew's mother believes there is more to the story. She says the Pinellas Park Police Department is still trying to figure out what happened. The public information officer confirmed the police investigation is still open.
Mayhew says she and her two daughters spent four days at Bayfront Health before signing papers honoring Eli's final wish — to donate his organs.
His heart went to a 16-year-old boy on the transplant wait list in Florida. She says before his organs were donated, nurses made a recording of his heart beat for them.
"This heartbeat that we heard, the recording that we heard. That’s the same song that singing in the other little boy's chest," said Mayhew.
He also saved Kynse Leigh, who received his pancreas and kidney. Four other people were saved, too.
"On an average 21 people die every day waiting for transplant," she said.
Mayhew has learned a lot about donating organs since her son's death. She says that number is way too high. She has talked with many people who are not organ donors and say many of them share a common misconception.
"Their fear was that when you’re an organ donor, the doctors, they give up," said Mayhew, explaining her experience at Bayfront was the complete opposite. "They treated him the whole time we were there, they treated him like he was going to get up and walk out of the hospital and all of the tests were not going to allow him to do that."
It is why on Eli's birthday, which also happens to be Valentine's Day, she is asking people to do a random act of kindness for someone and then share the story on Eli's Facebook page with the hashtag #SixIsGreaterThanTwentyOne. She is hoping the movement pushes people to become organ donors.
"What are you gonna do with your organs when you’re gone? Why not save another life," said Mayhew. "It could be in the mother of a child, or a grandmother or somebody who goes on to cure cancer whatever it may be, you just don’t know."