Organs of boxer killed in fight donated

Late boxer's family speaks out
November 24, 2009 (CHICAGO) Organ donation can be a sensitive subject for some Latino families. But Francisco's brother says, when he brought it up to his parents, they immediately agreed. And because of that they are finding some hope in their time of grief.

Candles burn next to pictures of Francisco Rodriguez in his family's home. There are pictures of some of the loves of his life: his wife and his boxing. He was from a family of boxers. His father and brother were in his corner Friday night when he collapsed in the ring.

"Everything seemed normal. I was talking to him. He was answering fine," said Evaristo Rodriguez, brother.

A short time later he slumped over, his brain apparently swollen from several blows to the head during his fight with Teon Kennedy. By the time paramedics rushed him to the hospital he was unconscious. His family made the decision to remove life support on Sunday night.

But they also made another decision to allow others to use Francisco's organs. The 25-year-old boxer was in peak physical condition. His heart and other organs were strong and healthy. His brother says one of his kidneys is going to a cousin who lives in the Chicago area.

"It was a big amount of pressure off my chest. Because I felt that I lost my brother. But he's going to continue living and other seven people are going to continue living because of him," said Alex Rodriguez, brother.

Around his family and friends he was known as Paco. And his death has devastated them. Before the fight they were touring Philadelphia, having fun. The family is now trying to rally around Francisco's young wife and 5-month-old baby daughter.

"I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure that she knows her father was a hero," said Alex.

His brothers say Francisco knew the risks of stepping into the ring, but he never thought about it. They say he was fast and strong, and normally he was not one to get hurt in the ring; usually, he was the one hurting his opponent.

Rodriguez's family is struggling to pay for his funeral. A fund to help assist the Rodriguez family has been set up with Chase Bank. Any Chase branch will accept a deposit to the Rodriguez family account # 707331062.

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