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Before his organ donation,
a final loving vigil for their son

Los Angeles Times, by Emily Foxhall

Original Article

Posted By:JoniTx, 8/9/2014 4:14:51 PM

Veronica Eckhardt bent over the hospital bed, sponging paint onto the sole of her son´s left foot. "Connor would not like what we´re doing," she said. Doctors had declared Connor Eckhardt brain-dead the day before, at age 19. Machines breathed for him in the Neuro Intensive Care Unit at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach. Veronica´s husband, Devin, held his son´s leg steady as she continued to apply a mixture of brown and blue, Connor´s favorite colors. It was Thursday, July 17. Their son´s decision to donate his organs had allowed the couple extra time at his bedside. Tests needed to


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Reply 1 - Posted by: earlybird, 8/9/2014 4:35:35 PM     (No. 9959692)

There seems to be a contradiction in their story. At first it seems as though he took this drug without knowing what it might do. As though he might have been a neophyte when it came to drugs. That he had everything to live for.

But then the article goes here, talking about this boy who was adopted by this family on the day he was born and whose siblings were also adopted::

Connor, or "CJ," as he was nicknamed, was adopted by the Eckhardts the day he was born: Oct. 19, 1994.

"I knew I would do anything for him," Devin would recall. "It was an amazing experience. At that moment, I fully and completely loved him."

Connor´s two siblings were also adopted. Still, he wrestled with feelings of rejection, fear and abandonment, suffering from a "hole in his heart," as his mother described it.

When he was 15 he went to a Christian boarding school in Missouri for troubled boys. He helped with worship services and inspired others to pick up the guitar.

By 18 he started looking for his birth parents, and plunged head-first into drugs.

Last year, Connor went to a rehab program in Palm Springs to get off heroin. He had been sober since, his parents said.

Mindy Hunt, 24, who met Connor in the program, recalled long hours they spent discussing the struggle to stay clean. She had smoked spice once; it made her heart beat so fast that she couldn´t stand up.

So he wasn´t new to drugs and he did know about this stuff and what it could do.

A very sad story indeed. And parents still in denial. But that´s what keeps parents going sometimes. That and hope.

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Reply 2 - Posted by: Gagolfer, 8/9/2014 6:40:27 PM     (No. 9959786)

A very sad story indeed. However, any kid into big time drugs like heroin certainly would know about Spice and would have taken it without a worry as a safe alternative to heavy drugs. Spice use is rampant in high schools and colleges around the country. That, of course, doesn´t make this any less sad for the family and friends.

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Reply 3 - Posted by: labrador heaven, 8/9/2014 7:03:52 PM     (No. 9959803)

A bit harsh, #1. I lost my straight-A, full athlete and beautiful goddaughter to heroin 2 yrs ago, and parents are the last to realize. SHE didn´t ever think it would kill her...she got on it to lose a few stupid lbs for a GUY who told her it would make her rail thin, like her wanted. Highly addictive brain ran in her family, but she didn´t know it. Neuro-wise, she was doomed. 18 months later, dead.

This kid had issues, tried drugs and found some gave him not only a high, but relief from those issues temporarily. What he took is insidious, but to say he KNEW what would happen, culminating in his death, is wrong and hard hearted and shows a lack of knowledge here. Absolute misunderstanding of what drives kids to try, new neuroscience findings of the brains of those who are addicts, a misunderstanding of the invincibility they feel - - the parents were trying to figure it out as much as their child.

Walk a mile, baby.

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Reply 4 - Posted by: earlybird, 8/9/2014 10:15:12 PM     (No. 9959902)

Re #3, I´m sorry. And I didn´t mean to sound harsh. But these parents knew their son had been into heavy drugs. His doing Spice should not have come as a surprise. If it hadn´t been Spice, it would have been something else.

Parents always hurt terribly. I know about that.

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Reply 5 - Posted by: earlybird, 8/9/2014 10:19:32 PM     (No. 9959904)

PS. As for the son´s knowing about Spice, the person he met in his last rehab stint told him about what it had done to her. I´m sorry, but these things are pretty well known among drug users. Some just think they are somehow different. There can be some edge-walking involved. Or maybe they really don´t care enough about their life. Either way, it causes parents pain.

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Reply 6 - Posted by: ColonialAmerican1623, 8/10/2014 2:44:06 AM     (No. 9959994)

No matter who did what, condolences to the family for their loss.

What are the chances the recipient of the organs will becoming addicted to drugs ? What cleans the organs of his drug use ?

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Reply 7 - Posted by: gijohn, 8/10/2014 8:00:50 AM     (No. 9960153)

I know how this is. Our daughter 36 died snorting computer cleaner like ´dust off´. It stopped her heart. Dead before she hit the floor. I miss her, but I still can´t cry.

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Reply 8 - Posted by: labrador heaven, 8/10/2014 4:54:36 PM     (No. 9960715)

#7, I ache for you. It sounds as if it were recent. Compassionate Friends network helped immensely, and does to this very day, if you haven´t ventured past the immediacy of shock to seek out ongoing support. They do wonders and help bring a solidity to life that vaporizes in the aftermath of that loss. We still go to gatherings. The pain is finding a place on the shelf of our lives, to be brought out once in awhile. But my goddaughter is now the public face, public campaign on TV and YouTube of teen heroin addiction in our state and her mother does outreach engagement via the state to help parents know the signs, get them Narcan in the home to reverse an OD. Some good is coming from it.

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Reply 9 - Posted by: labrador heaven, 8/10/2014 4:59:09 PM     (No. 9960716)

#6...that´s not how addiction pathways in the brain work..the organs are not addicted - the brain is. The substances have passed through and the longer on life support, the more even metabolites of some drugs will leave the body. Damaged organs from long term addiction are not transplanted.

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