ShareThis Page
Valley News Dispatch

Organ donation a comfort to family of late Highlands student

Emily Balser
| Monday, Oct. 22, 2018, 5:54 p.m.
Beth Whealdon places flowers in Eli Bussotti’s assigned parking space at Highlands High School on Monday Oct 22, 2018.
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Beth Whealdon places flowers in Eli Bussotti’s assigned parking space at Highlands High School on Monday Oct 22, 2018.
Flowers lay in the empty parking space of Eli Bussotti at Highlands High School on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. Bussott, 17, died Sunday from injuries sustained in a car accident Friday in Brackenridge.
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Flowers lay in the empty parking space of Eli Bussotti at Highlands High School on Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. Bussott, 17, died Sunday from injuries sustained in a car accident Friday in Brackenridge.

Nothing can take away the pain of losing a child, but for parents David Bussotti and Joy Krumenacker, knowing their son’s, organs will help other people brings some comfort.

Eli Bussotti, 17, died Sunday from injuries suffered in a car accident Friday in Brackenridge.

His parents honored his choice to donate his organs — a decision his dad said he made only months ago when he first got his driver’s license. Bussotti recalled his son asking if he should check the box to be an organ donor and his dad explaining what it meant.

“He says, ‘Yeah, I would do that,’” Bussotti, of Tarentum, recalls his son saying. “A hundred times I said it in the hospital to everybody.”

The people receiving Eli’s organs include a 1-year-old boy who will get half of his liver and a 45-year-old man who will get his lungs.

“At a minimum, Eli is giving eight people a new chance of life,” Krumenacker, of Brackenridge said. “He’s our hero.”

Eli’s choice to be an organ donor exemplified the compassion he had for others, something his friends and family speak of often.

“The positive outcomes really just kind of fill the wound in my heart with so much love and so much light,” Krumenacker said.

The family has seen an outpouring of support from the community, with hundreds of people contributing to a GoFundMe account set up by a friend to help the family. It raised nearly $13,000 in just 24 hours.

“I am just humbled by the amount of love and support,” Krumenacker said. “That love and support has been my strength.”

Bussotti said he had no idea the account was even set up until friends started mentioning it.

“It was just incredible,” he said.

Eli is survived by his parents, his sister, Ava Bussotti, 13, and stepdad Michael Mariani. He also is survived by his beloved dogs Hondo, Cruz, Luna and Sophie, and a bearded dragon, Mojo.

Eli also is survived by his girlfriend, Kaliah Pratt, 17, who said she is comforted by the maxims Eli lived his life by, including not caring what anyone thought of him and making an effort to stay happy and positive.

Kaliah hopes everyone will celebrate Eli’s life and not just mourn his loss. She prepared a passage for Eli that she shared with the Tribune-Review.

“You taught me how to love and let go of anything that isn’t love. You taught me to be a good person — even when it’s hard — and how to be strong. You always lived in the moment and now I’ll do the same. I love you more than I ever thought I could.”

Funeral arrangements still were being finalized Monday evening, but visitation will be open to the public. Details will be released when they become available.

“I want as many people who loved Eli to be there and to share stories, because this is going to be a celebration of him,” Krumenacker said.

Krumenacker said everyone with Allegheny General Hospital and the Center for Organ Recovery & Education went above and beyond to comfort the family during this time, including the CORE staff who recorded Eli’s heartbeat and put it in a Build-A-Bear to have forever.

Bussotti said, although this has been the most difficult time of his life, he is trying to look ahead to what Eli’s life will bring to others.

“Let’s move forward and let the miracles happen,” Bussotti said.

Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Emily at 724-226-4680, emilybalser@tribweb.com or via Twitter @emilybalser.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me