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Youth saves lives long after he is gone

Date: 5/4/2009

Eighteen-year-old Gregory Weiner died on December 20, 2008 from injuries sustained in a skateboarding accident earlier that week.

The accident occurred on the campus of Virginia Tech, where Weiner was finishing his first semester at the engineering school. He was transported to a local hospital in Blacksburg and then flown to the Neuro Trauma ICU at Roanoke Memorial Hospital.

His family said that from the very beginning he received the finest medical care. They said he fought the good fight, but in the end the damage to his brain was just too severe and he never regained consciousness. They were thankful for the outpouring of support, encouragement and prayer from family, friends and strangers. They said it was inspiring and a source of strength for all of them.

Weiner left behind three sisters, Cassandra, Meredith and Erin, his parents Alena and Dana (a native of East Longmeadow) and his grandparents Raymond and Dorcas, who still reside in East Longmeadow.

By his own choosing, Weiner was a blood and organ donor. Tranplants of his heart, lungs, liver and kidneys have already saved four lives. And later, his eyes were able to potentially provide sight to someone in Maryland. Medical research and potentially hundreds of lives will also benefit from his tissue, nerve, bone and cell donations. His family said that they are so proud of his gift of life.

Weiner was not wearing a helmet at the time of his accident. Whether he considered it unnecessary, inconvenient or was just exhibiting the invincibility of an 18-year-old, his family said they will never know.

The want his legacy to to include promoting helmet safety awareness, and his family is in the process of establishing a foundation to do just that.

Additional reporting by Natasha Clark