After the tragedy, The Living Legacy Foundation recovered Hendrix’s corneal tissue and delivered it to CorneaGen, which assessed and prepared the tissue for transplant.
Conner and Hendrix’s mother Stacey Safratowich met with one of two transplant recipients, Lisa League of Florida, by video chat Friday morning in an event coordinated by CorneaGen.
“We still talk about him every day. He’s still here in the house, he’s still outside,” Conner said. “And for him to be living on in your eyes is a great blessing to us. We are so proud you could use what he had.”
Surgeon Miguel Lugo said League was about to lose her eye because of a severe infection. She said she suffered severe pain that kept her up constantly for the month when doctors tried to get the infection under control. The transplant relieved that pain, she said.
“I’m so grateful, I really am,” League said.
League asked about Hendrix’s favorite things, his sense of humor and the family’s pets. Conner lit up when answering, recalling Hendrix’s enjoyment of “Thomas the Tank Engine” and “Curious George” movies.
“He loved movies. He would say ‘Grandpa, Grandpa, I need Curious George,’” Conner said.
Conner said Hendrix loved being in school at the YMCA, riding scooters and taking a daily ride around the block in a wagon.
“Hendrix was a wonderful child. He grew up loving everybody. We called him our little angel because of all the good he did without knowing,” Conner said.
Conner said the family plans on planting a garden to remember Hendrix this spring. Hendrix loved yellow, like the Man with the Yellow Hat for Curious George, so they will plant forsythia bushes and have a concrete bench to sit on a reflect. The donor family and the recipient hope to stay in touch.
Conner said he hopes League will pass that positive attitude on to others when telling them about Hendrix.
Both Conner and League said they are encouraging others to sign up to be organ donors. Donate Life Maryland has an online registry.