Sixteen-year-old Anthony gave the gifts of tissues and eyes following his death, helping 54 people of all ages in 14 states.
Anthony – his neighbors called him Prince Charming – was involved in football, hockey, skateboarding, youth ministry, and leadership camps. He was a role model with a loving heart and a big smile. He loved school and had completed his pre-ACT and was thinking about careers in engineering or science.
“When a person dies, people tend to put them on a pedestal. But Anthony was weird!” laughs his mom, Princess. “He was always playing jokes and would do silly, quirky things like all of a sudden decide to clean all of his shoes…we miss him so much.”
On July 4, 2010 was a day that changed his family forever. Princess, her son Jessie and daughter, Princess Ann, were at a family party. Just as the fireworks were beginning, Jessie’s phone rang. “I answered and heard ‘Anthony’s been shot’,” said Jessie. “I just couldn’t believe it.”
Anthony was the unintended victim of gang violence in Minneapolis. “He went to a graduation party that night with a group of people,” says Princess. “It was odd for us to not all be together, but I knew the family and felt comfortable with him going.”
Jessie, older by a mere 16 months, misses Anthony like a person misses their other half. “I thought we had at least sixty more years of doing stuff together,” he shares. “It’s rough.”
Princess and Jessie take comfort in the fact that Anthony was able to donate his tissues and eyes to people in need. When Anthony received his state ID card, he checked the box to be an organ, eye and tissue donor. “He called me from the DMV and asked what it meant. I told him briefly and then said he should ask someone who worked there,” said Princess. “We didn’t talk about it again, but sure enough when his card came in the mail he had checked ‘donor’.”
Anthony’s gifts of donation have been shared with men and women in 14 states ranging in age from 8 to 63. “I’m a donor,” shares Jessie. “Why not? I don’t need my organs or my tissues when I’m gone. Let someone else use them.”