The Gift of Life


He gave life after his was taken. 

Brian Guzman, a 21 year old victim of a deadly assault, saved a man battling to live more than a 1,000 miles away.  

His life cut short by what his mother calls a senseless act of violence, but a life of importance because of one selfless act. 

“Giving life to other people,” said Maria Guzman, Brian Guzman’s mother. 

Maria Guzman said she was humbled the day her son came home and told her he placed an organ donor sticker on his driver’s license. 

“He said mom if somebody else can live through me that would be great because I’m not going to be able to take nothing with me,” Guzman said. 

His choice made a reality roughly three weeks ago. 

Brian was assaulted in south Bakersfield December 18, 2018.

He died from his injuries.

Fidel Gandara, 23, was arrested. 

According to police documents Guzman has a baby with an unnamed woman.  

That woman’s current boyfriend is Gandara who she called for help during an argument with Guzman. 

That help lead to first degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon charges. 

Maria Guzman now carries the pain of losing her child, but it’s a pain lessened because of Brian’s choice. 

“After three years of waiting for a kidney we finally got one two days after Christmas, said Christina Benevides, daughter of Joe Benevides.

A man named Joe Benevides living with kidney failure in Denver received the kidney. 

“We could no do any of this without them and we just appreciate them so much,” Benevides said. 

Unknown to the Guzman’s, but distantly related, Brian’s cousin soon will marry Christina Benevides’ cousin, the Guzman’s made a direct organ donation.

“Brian was a perfect match for the gentleman.  He would would have been pretty happy to know their father gets to have a chance to keep living,” Guzman said. 

Brian has yet to be laid to rest.  

“We’re trying to figure out how we’re going to get all the expenses paid for and ready to go,” Guzman said. 

The Benevides family there to help, encouraging everyone they meet or see to donate to a go fund me created to cover Brian’s funeral expenses. 

“They gave us something so selflessly and we just want to try and do the same for them,” Benevides said. 

Because in their eyes Brian deserves nothing but the best for the gift of life he shared. 

To donate to Brian Guzman’s GoFundMe page, click here

Fidel Gandara is being held on $1.5 million bail.  He is due in court next month. 

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