Mother: Teens live on through organ donation

CLEVELAND - A Medina mother shared the heartbreaking story of losing both her children in a car crash last April.

She spoke on Monday about her decision to donate their organs so that others could live the full life her kids never got the chance to do.

When Laura Ehrbar-DePiero walked inside MetroHealth Medical Center last April her world would never be the same. Her 16-year-old daughter, Erin, had died in a car crash and her son, Andrew, who was a passenger in that car, was in intensive care.

"He was a young, vibrant, 13-year-old boy, who had never smoked, never did drugs. He ate his vegetables, even if he gave me a hard time about it. He was so active. He was a typical 13-year-old kid. He left his socks on the floor. He talked back to me. And he gave the best hugs," Ehrbar-DePiero said.

His mom's decided to donate his organs after his death: His heart, kidneys, pancreas and liver. He was one of 18 patients at MetroHealth Medical Center to donate his organs last year.

Lifebanc, the organ procurement organization, recognized the hospital on Monday.

"Today, there are three people in this world, who are eating, living breathing because of him," Ehrbar-DePier said.

At 16 years-old, Erin Ehrbar had decided to become an organ donor. She could donate her cornea and other tissue because of her injuries.

"She saw this world flawlessly. She just always could find fun no matter where she was at. And someone is out there now able to see through her eyes," her mother said.

Ehrbar-Diperio spoke before doctors and nurses and the hospital's chaplain, Reverend Lutalo Kyles. He remembers the family that day last April. As an organ recipient, her story brought him to tears.

"Cause, I know I wouldn't be here without people like you," said Kyles.

"Are there people out there today, who leave their socks lying around, who don't let their food touch each other and give the best hugs and the biggest smiles. I think because of my two children, there are," she said.

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