By Josh Haskell
LONG BEACH, California (KABC) — The 18-year-old Long Beach mother who was fatally shot by a school safety officer is now saving others’ lives.
The family of Mona Rodriguez donated her kidney to a woman who had been on the transplant list for more than three years.
On Tuesday, the kidney recipient got to speak with Mona’s family for the first time, via an ABC7 interview.
Edith Gonzalez has suffered from kidney disease most of her life and has undergone dialysis treatment.
In desperate need of a transplant and on the waiting list for over three years, Gonzalez reached out to the family of Mona Rodriguez after her death.
Mona, an 18-year-old Long Beach mother, was shot and killed by a school safety officer last month.
After Mona was taken off life support, her family donated her kidney to Gonzalez, who underwent successful surgery last week.
“I hope that someday you guys get that hope that she’s fine and she’s going to be OK,” Gonzalez told Mona’s family during the interview Tuesday.
The Rodriguez family plans to donate Mona’s organs to five separate people. Gonzalez was the first.
Mona’s brother, Iran, said the family is thankful they could help.
“I’m happy we can make a difference,” Iran Rodriguez said. “Something that my sister would have wanted. And we can see it in you that she did make a difference.”
“A big difference,” Gonzalez replied. “Thank you so much. There’s no words, like I’ve said before, to thank you guys. I know it’s hard for you guys and I don’t know Mona. I don’t know you guys, but we’re family. Have a little bit of Mona from you guys to me.”
Although recovery has been difficult, Edith Gonzalez says a photo of Mona Rodriguez with the words “my angel” has helped her push through.
“I’m pretty sure she was a very strong woman because I feel very strong,” Gonzalez said. “I feel that there is something there, a connection, that there will be justice and I’m pretty sure she’s peaceful knowing her brothers are doing the most. Not only her brothers, her entire family.”
“She was definitely strong,” Iran said. “If you’re feeling strength. It’s definitely Mona.”
Mona Rodriguez was shot on Sept. 27 while in a moving vehicle in a parking lot near Millikan High School.
She had apparently been involved in some kind of fight with another female in the street. As she and two others attempted to drive away from the scene, the school officer approached the car and then fired as the driver was pulling away.
The Long Beach Unified School District has said the shooting violated the district’s use-of-force policy. The officer has been fired.
The Long Beach Police Department is investigating the shooting as a homicide.
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