EDINBURG, Texas (KVEO) – According to the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance, a total of 28 individuals in the Rio Grande Valley became organ donors last year.

One of those donors was 18-year-old Alysha Garza, who was fatally shot in June 2020.

Alysha’s stepfather says organ donation was something she supported.

However, it was difficult for mother Genevieve Vargas to accept that decision.

“First, I am her mother so for them to take all my baby’s organs is something that I didn’t want something that I just wanted her whole,” said Vargas.

Although Vargas did not want to proceed with the organ donation, she ended up realizing that it was something her daughter would have wanted.

Vargas expressed the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance helped them every step of the way during the hospitalization.

“Our tragedy became a blessing for others,” says Vargas.

According to the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance, Alysha’s organ donation helped save five lives.

“We as a family, we call our daughter a hero because she is a hero to us,” said Vargas.

Both Vargas and stepfather Ramon Vargas say they have not yet met the recipients of Alysha’s organs.

Both are unsure when the day will come.

Ramos expressed that day would be an important one.

“My reaction would be to give them a hug because it would be like hugging my daughter again, a piece of her lives inside them,” he says.

According to both parents, their daughter has given them a different perspective and a purpose in life.

“You don’t know how many people are on a list for so long, waiting and waiting for a transplant,” said Vargas.

Both parents are now informing others about their experience in hopes that others can become organ donors as well.

“I don’t wish this on anybody you know the pain we go through daily of all the things of not having my daughter here,” she said. “It’s a pain daily but we know we have that sense of peace knowing that she still lives on.”