Altruistic teen saved by organ donation graduates from high school
Michael "Mikey" Carraway Jr. of Oakland invited KTVU Fox 2 News into his home as he prepared for his graduation from McClymonds High School.
"I'm feeling a little bit nervous about graduating from high school," Carraway said.
Carraway wouldn't be celebrating this big moment in life if it wasn't for the help from family, friends and an organ donor. Carraway received a liver donation from Johnny Hernandez in 2008.
Hernandez died in a motorcycle accident while on his way to adult night school to obtain credits so he could receive his high school diploma. It's why Carraway's mother placed a button with Hernandez's picture on his robe for the ceremony.
"If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't be walking across this stage today," Carraway said.
"Mikey and Johnny are walking the stage today," Carraway's mother Shaheda Wright said.
Ever since the transplant, Carraway wanted to find a way to pay it forward. He launched "Mikey's Meals" in 2008. The non-profit organization serves food to those less fortunate once a month. The program has also helped Carraway's classmates.
"They basically signed up to help me with Mikey's Meals and received high school credit to graduate," Carraway explained. "I helped them out and they helped me out too."
Wright said the idea was something that became contagious within their family and it caught on with the community.
I"'m just thankful he decided to pay it forward," she said. "I'm so proud of him."
Carraway plans to major in social work when he attends Cal State East Bay in Hayward this fall. For now, he's enjoying the moment of graduating from high school. Mikey was hospitalized 14 times since the transplant, suffering from rejection, and he missed several days of class throughout the course of his high school career.
"I'm just excited," he said. "I finally made it. I've been waiting for this day for four years so I'm just very happy."
Wright said the graduation is a lesson in helping others. Carraway said he plans to continue his non-profit work for the homeless in college because he knows that sometimes in life everyone needs a little help.
"The circumstances and the odds were against him because of his transplant, but he made it and he was able to graduate with his class," Wright said.