Thursday, January 04, 2001

Slain teen's organs donated

By Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The death of a 16-year-old boy in a shooting that killed three young men in Springfield Township has resulted in organ donations that have saved at least three other lives — including the boy's great uncle.

        Gabriel Beckham was killed Monday along with Miko Carter, 22, and Clarence Julian, 19, in what police say was a drug-related attack at a house on Bonneville Lane.

        As police started hunting for the killers, Gabriel's family said goodbye by agreeing to donate his organs.

        At his family's request, one of Gabriel's kidneys went to his great uncle, George Fears, 60, in an operation Tuesday at University Hospital. His other kidney went to an unidentified fellow church member.

        It was the first time the LifeCenter, the agency that manages organ donations in Greater Cincinnati, was able to honor a request for a “directed donation.”

        “We've had these kinds of requests before. But this was the first time it worked out after all the testing that's required,” spokesman Mark Sommerville said.

        Besides the kidney donations, other strangers will benefit from Gabriel's organs.

        His liver was transplanted in an unidentified person in an undisclosed location.

        His heart valves were collected for possible future transplants. Meanwhile, his pancreas was taken to collect islet cells, which can be used to cure a person of diabetes.

        Police continue to investigate the killings, and say money, crack and marijuana were found inside the home. However, relatives have said Gabriel went to the house only to get a haircut, and had nothing to do with any alleged drug activity.

        Mr. Sommerville said Gabriel's organs helped reduce the list of 276 people waiting for organs in Greater Cincinnati as of Dec. 28.

        Of those, 150 needed kidney transplants, 86 needed livers, 32 needed hearts, seven needed combined kidney and pancreas transplants, and one needed a pancreas.

        For information about organ donation, call the LifeCenter at 558-5555.


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