Organ gifts spark unusual family reunion

San Diego Union Tribune | Pam Kragen
Jacqueline Hatcher receives an embrace Monday from Martin Nuno, whose daughter Kyrie Nuno, left, received a lifesaving organ transplant from Hatcher’s son, Galen. Galen Hatcher died after an assault in the Gaslamp Quarter in December 2014. — Peggy Peattie

Sixteen month ago, the lives of strangers Jacqueline Hatcher, Inez Lontayo and Kyrie Nuno became forever entwined by a senseless tragedy, but until this week they’d never met face to face.

On Monday afternoon, during a 90-minute gathering filled with tears and laughter, the women bonded at an unusual “family reunion.” 

On Dec. 16, 2014, Hatcher signed the paperwork to donate the organs of her 29-year-old son, Galen, who was then on life support at UCSD Medical Center. Thanks to that gift of life, five lives were saved, including those of Lontayo, who received his pancreas and a kidney, and Nuno, who received his lungs.

On Monday, the three women hugged, shared photographs and words of faith and exchanged handmade gifts at the Mission Valley offices of Lifesharing, UCSD’s Donate Life San Diego program. Hatcher talked through sobs about the man her son was before his death — an unprovoked assault by a stranger in the Gaslamp Quarter — and Lontayo and Nuno brought along their daughters and parents, as well as their transplant coordinators. Continue reading_________________________________________________________
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