Petaluma native uses tragedy to advocate for new life

PETALUMA 360 | Hannah Beausang, Argus Courier

Jessica Lopez was 15 when her father passed away on Christmas Day.

Geronimo Lopez Jr. was 52 when he choked on food at a holiday dinner party in 2013. No one in the room was able to successfully perform the necessary life saving measures, and by the time emergency personnel arrived on scene, the oxygen to his brain had been cut off, his now 18-year-old daughter said.

At the time, Jessica Lopez did not know her father was a registered organ donor, and that his heart, liver, kidneys and corneas would ultimately be used to help five other people. Though his death dealt her a devastating blow, she said, her father’s final act of kindness has inspired her to help others by advocating for organ donation.

“When it first happened it was really just a spiral down for me,” the Petaluma native said. “But, I was able to get past it and see the good in it and then go from there.”

She said she wasn’t familiar with the concept of becoming a donor before her father passed away, but the experience motivated her to dedicate her senior project at Casa Grande High School to educating her peers about the process and how it can save lives. Continue reading
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