Organ recipient honors Alto's Cam'Ron Matthews at graduation

Organ recipient honors Alto's Cam'Ron Matthews at graduation
Source: Daniel Obregon
Source: Daniel Obregon
Source: KTRE Sports
Source: KTRE Sports

ALTO, TX (KTRE) - The thought of Cam'Ron Matthews not getting to walk at his own graduation is something that his father Ronnie ponders on often.

"You always have that thought of what it would have been like to see Cam walk and receive his diploma," Matthews said. "At the same time, we know that God had bigger work for him to do. We are thankful for that, and we will get to see him again one day."

In October of 2015, Cam'Ron suffered a hard hit in a football game between the Alto Yellow Jackets and the Carlilse Indians. The next day he died from what the official autopsy said was cardiac arrest from head trauma. The death of the 16-year-old  shocked the East Texas region.

In the days that followed, tributes poured into the Alto community. So many people wanted to give back to the Matthews family, but little did they know Cam'Ron was giving back as well.

"When he went to fill out for his driver license, he selected that he wanted to be an organ donor," Matthews said. "We didn't know that until we were at the hospital with him."

In all, six people were given a total of seven organs from Cam. The youngest was Daniel Obregon.

"I came here from Columbia," Obregon said. "Everything was changing in my life. I had some health problems I could not control. I felt sick one day. I could barely stand up straight.  After that day, I do not remember what happened. I got so sick so quickly. By the time I got to the hospital, I was in a coma. When I woke up, they stressed the importance that if I did not get a liver, I would die. They opted for moving me to the top of the transplant list, and within two days, I had a liver. It was a miracle."

Fast forward two and a half years, Obregon was ready for the next step in his life. He had finished high school at Central High School in Keller ISD. At his graduation ceremony, the memory of Cam was there.

"I was just sitting in my chair about to go onto the stage," Obregon said. "It was a huge thought of just gratitude with Cam. When I got to the stage. I tapped my liver twice for Cam, kissed my wrist for my country and for my commitment and my family. I just sent it up to God."

The gesture was not to showboat or cause a scene. Obregon said it was to acknowledge the Alto football player that has been a part of his life ever since the surgery.

"I always think about it," Obregon said. "I look down and the scar. I embrace it. It has to mean something. For me, it was  God's plan."

The day after the graduation, Obregon and his family opened their home like they have several times before to the Matthews family. It was during this time that the family learned of what happened on the stage of the ceremony.

"That was really emotional because we were not expecting it," Matthews said. "We thought he was just going to walk across the stage, so when he gave a salute to Cam and thought about him on his big day, it was just awesome for us."

Over the years, Obregon has been accepted into the Matthews family. He along with five other organ recipients have been in the Matthews home to see where Cam lived.

"We want all of them to know that they are loved," Matthews said. "We accept them as they are. I know it is hard for Daniel to know Cam had to die to receive his gift, but we let him know we love him and thank God for him."

Obregon said the gift of a second chance is not lost on him.

"I always think about that," Obregon said. "My family and I always make sure we let others know we are organ donors as well. We want to be able to help people."

Cam's family has the same thought.

"We want people to not forget that organ donation is real and that you do affect people's lives," Matthews said.

More information on how you can become an organ donor can be found here.

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