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'Automatic family:' Organ recipients surprise teenage donor's mother

Posted at 11:43 PM, Oct 12, 2019

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — A 15-year-old who was tragically killed in 2017 is living on through the lives he saved because of organ donation.

Elijah Mayhew's family is honoring his legacy by working to raise awareness about how important organ donation is.

His family says Elijah was already decided at his young age that he wanted to be an organ donor. Through it, he saved six lives.

RELATED: Local mom hopes son's death encourages more people to become organ donors

"Everything else has just been kind of a blur of emotions happy and sad, so grateful for his decision because we still have parts of him that are out there that we can hold onto and hug and see the great things that he is making happen through our foundation," said his mother, Jennifer Nicque Mayhew

Through social media and a mutual connection, the family met Kynse Leigh Agles who received one of Elijah's kidneys and his pancreas.

She said she had been diagnosed with kidney failure from Type I diabetes.


After meeting, they formed the organization "Don't Bury Good Organs." They work to raise awareness about organ donation and help families impacted by it.

"We bring awareness to donation, living donation because you can donate your kidney which most people know about but you can also donate part of your liver, it grows back," said Mayhew's sister, Kaybriel Mayhew.

Saturday, the organization hosted a concert in Pinellas Park.

"It can save up to 8 lives so it’s something you shouldn’t take for granted," said Ian Cooper, 15.

Cooper is waiting on a heart transplant and told his story during the event.

RELATED: Pinellas Park teen waiting for heart transplant gets love from national non-profit organization

But what Elijah's mother didn't know, was that Kaybriel helped arrange for two more of his organ recipients to be there to meet her for the first time.

"We went ahead and tried to surprise mom, but sometimes she knows everything," Kaybriel said.

"It really was perfect," said Jennifer Mayhew.

They met Jim Wetzler, who said after battling cystic fibrosis he received both of Mayhew's lungs, and Valerie Mcbee, who said she received a kidney.

"It’s just amazing and it’s amazing that Nicque and the girls can see how much Elijah did and to see us all out here in the park together is just she said that it’s like the pieces coming back together," said Agles.

The group said it was like automatic family.

"That's the craziest part of it, you just don't expect it to be like this," said Jennifer Mayhew.

"It'll be many meetings from now on probably I can see some fun coming down the road," said Wetzler.

The recipients said for them, the impact is getting to spend time with family, happiness and life.

"I mean it’s crazy. I didn’t even really associate the fact that Bubby wasn’t here and that we’re doing this because of him it was really just a I’m so glad that my son made this decision and that your life is being affected by it and that you’re affecting our life by it and it’s a crazy support system we already have," Jennifer said.