Teen who died in accident donates kidney to Iraq War veteran

A 16-year-old girl from Washington, who tragically fell from a ladder to her death, has donated her kidney to an Army veteran who needed dialysis to survive.

Daniel Mendoza waited four and a half years for a kidney. Doctors say he had less than 5% function of his kidneys and they believe he became sick after being exposed to toxic fumes and chemicals during the war.

Mendoza, an Army infantry soldier who served 27 months in Iraq, was assigned to a ‘Quick Reaction Force.’ He’d been in numerous firefights and pulled many wounded soldiers out of harm’s way.

Earlier this month, Emily Ramm died after falling from a ladder, while watching a meteor shower with friends at a construction site. Her aunt says she reached out to Mendoza to let him know that it was her niece who gave him the gift of life.

“He told me he’d honor her and keep her safe,” said Tara Vasey. “He told me ‘Tara, she’s going to be good with me. I promise you. I will always care for her. I will always be healthy.'”

Vasey says no one else is more deserving than someone like Daniel, who has served his country proudly.

“He’s a veteran he gave us a lot of him … to be able to give that back to him it makes us feel good as a family,” she said.

Daniel wasn’t able to make it to Emily’s memorial service over the weekend, but says he’s looking forward to meeting her family once he’s fully recovered.

“There’s no words to describe how grateful I am. For the family, the loss is huge. I can’t say thank you enough,” Mendoza told KOMO News from his home.

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