Our Story

Mission

AO's  Gift of Life strives to promote good health individually, in our families and throughout our El Paso Community in a combined effort to encourage everyone to be a hero and become an organ, eye, and tissue  donor.

Why we started

First born son to Salatielu and Alicia Aofia, in a military family with 5 children, Eric Michael Aofia was born October 29th, 1985 in El Paso, Texas. Like many military dependents, Eric experienced living in various cities throughout the United States; however, El Paso is where he called home. Because of Eric’s family values, he learned discipline, the ability to instantly connect with others around him and was humbled with an extroverted personality that made him stand out amongst the rest. Due to Eric’s pure-hearted leadership, many people gravitated towards him. He had a gift that always pulled out the best in those who had the honor of knowing him. In 2004, Eric graduated from Bel Air High School and completed a Bachelors’ Degree in Business Administration at UTEP in 2008. Eric ended up becoming one of the top IT Specialists at Texas Tech where he will always be remembered for hard work and true dedication.

He was great at everything and anything he set his mind to, especially things he was passionate about many of which were the Dallas Cowboys, technology, being a DJ, playing Madden, collecting coins, and cars. Above all, his dedication to family and those he loved always came first. Eric was the type of man to give anyone the shirt off his back if they needed it whether he knew the person or not. Eric was that light in the dark room, with his smile and his personality, everyone recognized the compassion the second they met him. Eric’s heart was huge and his ability to share his heart with everyone that knew him was what made him amazingly special. Eric loved his family and especially adored the children. His nieces and nephews were his true pride and joy and like any good man, he too dreamt to be a father himself one day. Unfortunately, his dream would never come to light. 

On August 29th, 2015 Eric’s life came to a crossroad. He was involved in a tragic car accident and sustained traumatic brain injuries that he was unable to recover from. The following day, with his family by his side, Eric picked up his wings and the decision was made in his best interests. September 1st, 2015, Eric became what many believed he always was, a hero. By donating seven organs, he completed his legacy by his ultimate act of kindness and becoming the light for others. The strong legacy Eric leaves behind lives on through the five lives he saved through organ donation; a true act of selflessness where his light will continue to shine-on. To many people, not only is he remembered because of the gift of life he gave, but also through all the impacts he made on everyone that knew him. 

Through watching the impacts he made on so many people, Eric’s family and friends realized they wanted to help educate others on organ, eye and tissue donation. Hence, AO’s Gift of Life was created. Through his music and life, Eric taught everyone to listen with their heart and this also created our logo resembling a heart with headphones. AO’s Gift of Life’s logo sends the message to anyone who dares to hear its calling: Listen to your heart, Make a difference and Register to become an organ, eye, and tissue donor. 

Since 2016, AO’s Gift of Life has become proud partners with Southwest Transplant Alliance (STA) and Donate Life Texas to help increase numbers with registered organ, eye and tissue donors. Proceeds raised by AO’s Gift of Life are donated to STA to be distributed to El Paso donor families and recipients. This support includes assistance for funeral services and/or traveling expenses for recipients. 

AO’s Gift of Life has also partnered up with El Paso Children’s Hospital to sponsor their Hero Wall that will reveal the names of many children who have saved lives through their own selfless acts of organ and tissue donation. The decision to help El Paso Children’s Hospital honor children was one that came easily because of the connection Eric had with his own family, friends, their children, and his dreams of fatherhood. It is something he would be so proud to do. We are pleased to be their sole sponsor and cannot wait for the unveiling of their Hero Wall in April! 

Be a Hero! Be the Light! Be a Donor!