Fallen Long Island Marine Gives the Gift of Life

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Saves nearly a half-a dozen lives. (Published Monday, Apr 5, 2010)

    When Lance Corporal Libardo Anthony Jimenez  lost his life at the age of 21, he gave the gift of life to as many as five others. Having risked his life to serve with the Marines in Iraq, Jimenez died while boxing on American soil, but his death was not in vain.

    "He talked to my mom about being an organ donor," said Matt Palmer, Jimenez's 17-year-old brother. "He was a good person and wanted to give what he could to other people."

    Jimenez, of North Bellmore, signed up to be an organ donor when he enlisted with the Marines, according to his brother. Having just returned from a tour of duty in Iraq, Jimenez was training for the Marine's boxing team in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina when tragedy struck.

    During one sparring practice on March 20, Jimenez got hit hard and suffered a brain injury, Palmer said . The death is under investigation and his family is looking for answers.

    Three days later, doctors took him off life support.  But Jimenez's organs -- including his heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and corneas -- were given to others. 

    "They took out seven organs and they said five people are living because of him," said Paul Gross, Jimenez's grandfather. "I'm proud of him sure, but I'd rather have him here with us. It's a shame to die so young. He was a beautiful boy."

     Well-liked, easy going person, Jimenez had plans to marry his long-term girlfriend.

    "He's very outgoing. Everyone liked him. He had no enemies. Just an all around good guy," said Palmer.

    The family wants to meet every person that Jimenez helped through his organs.  So far, they have only heard of one recipient, Frederick Strisko, of Flushing, who had been waiting a year and a half for a liver transplant.

    "He's always wanted to help people and do good," said Palmer of his brother. "I guess this was his way of doing it."