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Joe Hecht

Joe Hecht spoke regularly with his family about the benefits of organ, eye and tissue donation growing up. When his wife, Melissa Hecht, was preparing to receive her driver’s license, Joe made sure she understood the importance of joining the donor registry. Neither of them realized at the time how important these conversations would be.

Upon learning that Joe was a victim of a senseless act of gun violence and wasn’t going to survive, Melissa struggled: “Because he was so strong, I could never think about losing him.” Still, she and Joe’s mother, Sheila Hecht, knew of his desire to donate. Joe became an organ donor, which gives their family some comfort today.

“We always talk about how he’s a hero, and just like he was every day in life, he still was able to help other people [when he passed],” Melissa said. “I want our girls to remember that we can’t control what’s going to happen to us. We don’t know what the future holds, but we know we can be kind. And even the worst situation can still turn into some good.”

Although she misses her son, Sheila remains proud of Joe’s donation.

“Hopefully, whenever my time comes, I’m able to help other people, because it’s beautiful to see how recipients’ lives begin again,” Sheila said.

Joe Hecht’s Family

Pictured — left to right: Elena Hecht, Joe’s daughter; Melissa Hecht, Joe’s wife; Isabelle Hecht, Joe’s daughter; Sheila Hecht, Joe’s mother