Neil Patel

Neil Patel

Donor

“Chicken was his favorite food, whether it was butter, curry, or fried.” That’s one of the little things Gira, Neil’s mother, remembers about her son.   

Neil was a giving & caring person. He’d give you the dollar in his pocket & never met a stranger. Neil didn’t care if you were rich, poor, young, or old; he would talk to anyone. He played basketball in high school & his team called him Chief. Neil was really into hands-on work, so he worked in the shop at my steel business every day. It’s how we remained so close.  

Neil was 38 when he passed by cardiac arrest on March 19, 2021. Neil gifted his kidneys, lungs, liver & corneas. The recipient of Neil’s lungs is a veteran and grateful he could see 2023 after receiving Neil’s lungs, gifting him the gift of life.  

I originally became a registered donor because I believed in the mission. I told Neil he should sign up whenever he returned to the DMV. Our family wasn’t aware of Neil being a registered donor until the evening he was in the hospital when the nurse handed me his wallet. I pulled his license out, and there it was…the red heart. We knew Neil would’ve wanted to help others, so we said “YES” to allowing Neil’s gifts to be used.  

Knowing that Neil went on to save & heal others allow me to sleep at night. It means he’s still living through others, from generation to generation. For the last two years, on the 19th of every month, our family has enjoyed a meal to remember Neil, share memories, talk about him, laugh, and cry.   

I wear my Donate Life pin daily to remember Neil & the gifts he gave. If you’re considering whether you should register, think about when you’re at the point when you are not going to live anymore & when doctors have done all they can to save your life. Think about saying “YES” to save someone else’s life by being an organ, eye & tissue donor. I encourage you to sign up.