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Following Son’s Tragic Death, Hempstead Mom Tries To Raise Organ Donation Awareness

Oscar Veliz's Organs Saved 5 Lives Following His Hit-And-Run Killing
Oscar Veliz

Hit-and-run victim Oscar Veliz in undated photo (credit: Handout)

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Long Island mother is on a quest to find the driver who took her 17-year-old son’s life, and kept on going.

As CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reports, she’s also hoping his death can save the lives of others.

From her laptop inside the Hempstead pool hall she owns, Yolani Veliz is on a mission.

“I think we need more information about organ donation and for that I open up website,” Veliz said Thursday.

She is trying to spread the word in the Latino community that organ donation saves lives. She’s started a website in Spanish – the Oscar Veliz foundation, named after her son, whose organs saved five lives.

“Maybe they can save even one life that helps something, somebody or a whole family,” Yolani Veliz said.

Oscar Veliz was killed in October when a car hit him as he was riding his bicycle on Clinton Avenue in Hempstead. The driver took off with the bike still wedged under his car.

“Then a witness says he saw the man get out of his car, try to pull the bike from under the car, couldn’t do it and kept driving. So obviously the man had to know what he did,” family attorney Mitchel Weiss said.

Witnesses recorded a video moments after the crash and got a look at the car, believed to be similar to a tan Toyota Camry.

“I know that accidents happen, but we have a responsibility…,” Yolani Veliz said.

But as a mother prays for justice, she also hopes some goodwill will come from Oscar’s death. His kidney was donated to a family friend and other friends are signing up to donate organs.

It was Oscar who first learned about organ donation, during a blood drive in school, and he told his mother about it long before he was killed. Now his organs have saved five people, including a 17-year-old, who received his heart.

Yolani Veliz put up half of the $10,000 in reward money offered for information leading to an arrest of the hit-and-run driver.

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