Focus at Four: Bryan family's heartbreak offers life to others through organ donation

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BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) - In September 2016, 21-month-old Jarek Cadena of Bryan was fatally injured at the hands of someone who is now facing criminal charges.

Jarek's father, Joey Cadena III, spoke on First News at Four about how his boy's legacy is living on through organ donations.

"I did not want him to leave the hospital as a victim," Cadena said. "I wanted him to be remembered as a hero."

The family donated Jarek's heart and kidneys.

His heart went to a 1-year-old boy. Another organ went to a 60-year-old man.

Cadena has a message for parents going through tough situations like this.

"It's not easy, but you have to think about how big of an impact it can have on other lives," he said.

The Cadenas used an organ donation service known as Lifeway.

Another option is though the non-profit organization Donate Life Texas.

Katie Whitton is with the Southwest Transplant Alliance, which is one of many organizations that acts as a third party to consult with families about organ transplants.

"There is a tremendous need for organs," Whitton said. "Currently about 117,000 people are on the transplant waiting list. Here in Texas alone, we have about 10,000 people on that list."

One donor can save several people's lives.

You can declare your decision to donate by going to donatelifetexas.org.