Downey Beat | Ben Baeder
DOWNEY – Clint Rivera was getting the breaks. He had a great girlfriend, a mom and sister who loved him, and he played upright base in a band that was starting to get a little attention.
Then a drunk driver killed his girlfriend.
Ten months later, Rivera, who was 22, killed himself.
He was buried with some of his girlfriend’s ashes.
“That woman who hit his girlfriend and killed her, she really took two lives,” Rivera’s mother, Carol Rivera, said of the 2007 car crash. “It caused tragedy for two families.”
But, even during that dark time three years ago, the Rivera family honored Clint’s wishes and donated all the tissue doctors could harvest.
About 50 people have received parts of Clint’s body, including two children whose lives were saved by parts from Clint’s heart.
“This is so hard to think about, especially during the holidays,” Rivera said. “But it makes you feel good that he has helped more than 50 people. Somewhere out there, a little bit of him is still alive.”
During the 2012 Rose Parade, an image of Rivera’s face will be among 72 floragraphs on this year’s Donate Life float. The pictures show people from all over the country who have donated their organs or tissue.