Leon County Family Hopes To Inspire Others To Donate Life After Tragedy

Leon County Family Hopes To Inspire Others To Donate Life After Tragedy

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On Saturday, the Florida State men's basketball team looks for a victory against Clemson. They're also hoping for another victory for those that need it more, as the came has been dubbed "Donate Life Night," and the hope is fans will be encouraged to learn more about organ, tissue, and eye donation.

It's a cause that hits close to home for one Leon County family, as they look to keep their son's legacy alive.

"When he was in marching band, Senior night, he swapped band uniforms with one of his friends that played at Rickards, so he showed up with the Rickards marching band uniform for Senior pictures."

Demetrius Branca laughs when remembering his son Anthony. Anthony always had a joke, a smile, and a laugh. He was always there for his friends and his family, until November 7th, 2014, when everything changed.

"I don't really remember a whole lot, I just remember thinking, I didn't know what I was going to do," remembered Demetrius. "I didn't know how to act. I didn't know what to do next. Anthony was my best friend, and probably the best person I've ever met."

That morning, Anthony, 19 years old, was hit and killed on his motorcycle by a distracted driver. A driver who never swerved. Never hit his brakes.

"Honestly, the worst day of my life was the day after Anthony died. The day Anthony died, I was in a blur, I wasn't feeling anything," said Demetrius. "It was the next day, that it started to kind of register with me that Anthony was gone. He wasn't coming back."

It would take a year, but the Branca's realized Anthony wasn't really gone at all. Now, he lives through others.

"When we talk about a person can help 50-100 people by being a tissue donor, that's immense," said Coral Denton, who works with LifeQuest Florida informing the public about organ, tissue, and eye donation.

It's not certain how many people Anthony affected after he passed. The Branca's know of one, Glenn, who reached out to the family. Where he's from, they don't know, but they know wherever he is, Anthony is too.

"It is so bitter,  because it's a moment of recognizing Anthony is dead," reflected Demetrius. "His tissues are being used for someone else's health, and someone else's life. He's dead, but he's also alive. That's the sweet part."

"Most people do hold on to the fact that their loved one was able to make an impact," said Denton. "Everyone wants to be able to make an impact once they pass."

"You want to believe that the person that you loved is going to live on somehow, and in a way he has," said Demetrius.

Along with promoting organ and tissue donation, the Branca's want to put an end to distracted driving. They've created a foundation in Anthony's name to doing just that. For more information, you can check out their Facebook page here.