MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — Two Muskegon mothers who became friends following the loss of their sons are working to bring awareness about organ donation.
April is National Donate Life Month and the mothers are sharing their stories so more people consider giving the gift of life.
Becky Katzenbach said her son Robbie Katzenbach decided to become an organ donor after having a discussion about what it meant and the impact the choice could have.
“He asked me, ‘Am I an organ donor?’ And I had said, ‘You should be,'” Becky Katzenbach said.
Amanda Garza said her son Nathanael Garza was excited to tell others about becoming an organ donor by checking the box when getting his license.
“When I walked into that emergency room in the morning and I saw my son, in the situation he was in, I knew that he wasn’t going to survive,” Amanda Garza said.
Robbie Katzenbach died in September of 2019 at age 22 following complications from a drug overdose. Nathanael Garza died one month later in a car accident. He was 20 years old.
“His leg got caught inside of the truck and his buddy didn’t, unfortunately, know that he was out of the truck at that moment, and he kept on driving,” Amanda Garza said.
Nathanael Garza donated eight organs to seven people. Robbie Katzenbach’s mother said his decision helped at least four people.
“The woman who had wrote me about her liver said she was on her death bed,” Becky Katzenbach said.
The mothers became friends after Becky Katzenbach attended a memorial walk for Nathanael Garza.
Nathanael Garza knew Robbie Katzenbach and had attended a previous walk in his honor.
The mothers designed a bench for a memorial garden in downtown Muskegon to remember their sons and to let people know about the decision they made to donate life.
“God knows we don’t need our organs in heaven, so let them do some good for somebody else here. There’s people suffering that really need that,” Becky Katzenbach said.
“It’s just one way in which we can leave a legacy of us being here by saving somebody else,” Amanda Garza said.
For more information on organ donation, visit the Gift of Life Michigan website.