Lowell man needed organs that never came

Lowell Sun | Melissa Hansen

Zachary Merksamer and his fianc e Claudia Smith listen as Gary Merksamer Sr., standing, talks about his late son, Gary Merksamer Jr., on Monday afternoon. Gary died Saturday at age 24 after succumbing to a rare kidney and liver disease he battled since he was a baby. SUN /JOHN LOVE

LOWELL -- Gary Merksamer Jr. was hopeful he would get an organ.

Two, actually. For nearly two years, Merksamer was in need of a liver and a kidney transplant. The organs needed to come from the same person, someone whose body was similar to the 24-year-old's small frame.

Every time a doctor walked by his room at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he had been for about 10 weeks, his family said they waited to hear the magic words -- that they found a donor.

Merksamer died on Saturday afternoon, on the eve of a fundraiser at Crossfit Objective in Dracut that was planned to raise money for his recovery. Instead, a workout was done in Merksamer's honor on Sunday morning, and the $1,100 friends and family raised will assist with funeral costs. Continue reading