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Grieving mom finds solace in son's organ donations

Andrew Wheeler suffered a fatal gunshot wound on Feb. 20. His mom says he's saved five lives from choosing to be an organ donor.
Credit: wtol

TOLEDO, Ohio — A grieving mom spoke out exclusively to WTOL 11 for the first time since her son's death.

Andrew Wheeler died earlier this month, from what his mother said was an accidental gunshot wound at their west Toledo home.

Renee Wheeler said this last week has been "indescribable, gut-wrenching, the worst week and half of her life."

But she's taking comfort in a decision her son made to be an organ donor.

Andrew's uncle died six years ago from congestive heart failure. Renee said he wanted to be an organ donor but couldn't be because of his condition.

After his death, Andrew, who was 12 years old, told his mom that when the time came he wanted to be an organ donor.

Andrew's heart, lungs, liver and both of his kidneys have saved the lives of five people, including a 23-year-old man.

Wheeler's blood and tissues were also donated and will be able to possibly help up to 125 people.

Renee said her son always cared about other people more than himself.

"It makes me feel proud," she said. "Just proud of him and I'm so glad that those families have a second chance with their loved ones."

Renee said she hopes Andrew's decision inspires more people to become organ donors.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 20 people die each day waiting for an organ transplant.

The Wheeler family has a GoFundme set up help cover funeral costs. You can find that link here.

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