HOLT, Mich. (WOOD) — Amaia Edmond was shot and killed in Lansing, but her death has sparked life.
Her spirit lives on through Mike Lopez, who joined the rest of America in observing National Minority Donor Awareness Month.
Lopez created a binder that chronicles his journey to finding a new liver.
“Every once in a while, I go through here and look back,” Lopez said.
He flipped through it like he’s never seen it before. Inside are handwritten letters and other keepsakes that remind Lopez how far he’s come.
“Somebody had to die, you know, in order for me to live,” Lopez said.
That somebody was 7-year-old Amaia Edmond.
“I was angry,” said John Edmond, Amaia’s dad. “I was ready to kill, I was full of rage.”
Edmond said his daughter was killed during a home invasion. He said Amaia’s stepdad accidentally shot her while trying to shoot the attackers on July 23, 2010.
“He shot her right here in the forehead and it exited out the back behind her ear and got lodged into a windowsill,” Edmond said. “I have forgiven him for that.”
Edmond wasn’t able to save his little girl, but he was was able to help save Lopz and four others.
“There were three adults and two children who were saved from Amaia’s death,” Edmond said.
Lopez received Amaia’s liver.
“Before my transplant, I couldn’t do anything,” Lopez said. “I was down to less than 100 pounds. I couldn’t even open a bottle of water. I couldn’t even take the cap off — my wife had to do that, and now, I can do that.”
Lopez expressed his gratitude to Amaia’s dad through back-and-forth letters that he still keeps in his binder. He reflected on the first one he ever received from Edmond, who he met a year after his Amaia’s death at a Stop The Silence basketball tournament.
“When we locked eyes on each other, he said my name and I said his, and then we hugged,” Edmond said. “It was like — an irreplaceable feeling.”
It’s that same feeling Lopez said he gets every time he thinks of Amaia and that same feeling he gets when he looks at his binder.
“What a blessing I received,” Lopez said.