MOORE — Isela Mena remembers it with vivid clarity. The night her daughter, Mariee Mena, died is a moment in time that will be with the Escondido, Calif. native for the rest of her life.
Yet, that is the way Mena wants it to be. While her daughter’s death from a motorcycle accident on Oct. 6, 2009 was a painful experience, she knows the tragedy also ended up being a blessing for two other families who saw their children’s lives saved due to Mariee’s decision to be an organ donor.
Oct. 5 marked the Fourth Annual Mariee Mena Memorial Walk, and it gave Mena a chance to celebrate her daughter’s life and the lives of those Mariee saved.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Mena said. “Everyone here is pretty amazing. Just like that night. Every time we gather here, it’s like the night that we said our good-byes to Mariee. It wasn’t about an ending. It was about a beginning. We were over 15 people in an ICU room, singing, telling stories. So we were able to say our good-byes. Today we honor her every year in a walk to yield to bikers. Maybe you can save a life.”
The memorial walk began at Marita Hynes Field at the OU Softball Complex, where Mariee Mena was a standout softball player for the Sooners from 2003-2007. More than 30 family members, friends and former teammates joined Mena as they walked the 3.6 miles to 1818 East Alameda St., the site of Mariee’s motorcycle wreck.
Also on hand for the memorial walk were Curtis Kingfisher (kidney) and Krissy Burchell (heart), two recipients of Mariee’s organs after her death. Neither would be alive today if not for Mariee.
“It’s very special,” said Curtis’ mother, Rhonda Kingfisher. It’s really heart warming to know that Mariee’s kind gift saved Curtis’ life. He was at the end of his life and when he got his kidney, it was a joy. But it was also a time of sadness.”