The family of a 16-year-old killed in a auto pedestrian crash last week says her memory will live on, both through them and her organs that were donated so others can live.
Mary Lilly died Saturday after being hit by a truck about a quarter mile from her home at Craig Road and Pioneer Way Nov. 23.
Her mother, April Lilly, says doctors declared the energetic, fun-loving 16-year-old brain dead on Thanksgiving Day, but the teen was kept alive to donate her organs.
That’s a decision her mother says Mary made just more than a week before the crash when they went to get her an ID card.
"She asked my permission at that time to be an organ donor and we honored those wishes," April Lilly said.
The family says the last organ donated was Mary’s heart.
It went to a 10-year-old in California along with an letter telling the family about Mary.
"She was a very talented artist that loved to paint, and I hope your child is able to live a life as joyful and dynamic as my daughter was able to enjoy," Mary’s sister, Rose, reads from the letter she helped her mother craft.
April also praised the staff at UMC Trauma, who she says treated her daughter with the utmost compassion and respect.
She says the staff in the intensive care unit was great in allowing dozens of Mary’s friends to visit, but says the biggest gesture was doctors allowing Mary’s companion dog Bell to visit daily.
"They lowered her bed so it would be easier for her to get up there. She put her paws up there and she licked her fingers, licked her toes and then just laid guard at the side of the bed," April Lilly said.
Her mother says the 16-year-old loved to help others and began volunteering with various groups in junior high.
"She was always giving," April Lilly said.
Now her family is holding on to every thing that reminds them of Mary.
That includes her favorite doll and pillow, heart-shaped rocks the teen loved to collect as well as the Thanksgiving-themed painting on the front windows created the day before the accident.
Her mother is also wearing a pocket watch as a necklace.
She says Mary ordered it with money she earned from her first job, but it didn’t arrive until days after her death.
April Lilly says she holds no ill will towards the driver of the truck that hit her daughter, turning to Mary’s final journal entry to clarify.
"What it says in here is 'The first to apologize is the bravest. The first to forgive is the strongest and the first to forget is the happiest,'" April Lilly said.
Las Vegas police say they are still investigating the crash, but the Lilly family says they believe it was a tragic accident.
The family is planning a celebration of Mary’s life.
There is also a GoFundMe account set up for the family.