SPRINGVILLE, Utah — A Utah teen who police believe was shot by her ex-boyfriend is not expected survive, but part of her will live on.
17-year-old Lily Conroy’s family has kept her on life support since Wednesday afternoon so all her organs can be donated to save lives.
“How many of us can be a hero in this life and save other people's lives?" said Roger Allred. "And she is a hero.”
Years ago, Allred hiked Mt. Whitney with his son. Sixteen months later, he had a mini-stroke, and doctors told him his heart muscle was dying. He began wearing a heart defibrillator that saved him 11 times.
“I went to the doctor and he said after this 11th time, he said these words: 'Roger, you're dying,'" Allred said.
One day, doctors gave Allred miraculous news: there was going to be a new heart for him.
Hearing the story of Conroy and her family this week, he couldn’t hold back tears.
“I don't think that they can understand what that means," Allred said.
Marlee Dalton received a kidney and a pancreas from her donor.
“This young man who literally saved my life, he is my hero," she said. "I feel him with me every day.”
Dalton read a young man’s obituary in a newspaper the day after her transplant; before even confirming it with the family, she knew he was her donor. Now every year, she holds a charity softball game in his honor, raising money for organ donation and scholarships for children to pursue degrees in medicine.
“I knew the morning when I got my phone call that said, ‘Marlee, we have a kidney for you,' I knew there was a family grieving, I knew they were probably all sitting around trying to make sense of what happened," she said. "And in their most horrible time was a moment in mine that I had been anticipating and waiting for.”
Almost 2 million people are signed up to be organ donors in the state of Utah, but less than 2 percent of them will actually end up being one, said Mark Dixon, a spokesperson for DonorConnect.
“It can be 50, 60, 70 people ultimately that realize that gift of life through the selfless donation of Lily and her family," Dixon said.
While Conroy's family and community grieve the loss of the teen, Dalton said her life will be cherished forever.
“If she knew what she was about to do, and I'm sure she does, she would just be so happy because she is saving so many people's lives," she said.
Conroy’s family received an overwhelming response to their request to donate Lily’s organs, and they now have a sufficient list to select from, according to Springville Police.
If you would like to sign up to be an organ donor, you can go to yesUtah.org.