It was a time to honor the memory of the late Carrie Gay.

It was a time to honor the memory of the late Carrie Gay.
Family and friends gathered Saturday at the home of her grandmother, Marjory Gay, on Airline Road.
There were two not-so-familiar faces in the crowd.
Mario Nastasi and Joe Schwartzenberger had come to meet the group. They received the heart and lungs, respectively, of Gay, who died in a motorcycle accident in 2013.
“She saved my life,” said Nastasi, of Clinton Township, north of Detroit.
“She saved my life, too,” added Schwartzenberger, of Ann Arbor. “I was on my way out and she saved my life. I think she saved a lot of people’s lives (by being an organ donor.)”
According to Benny Gay, Carrie’s father, organ recipients and the families of donors can agree to meet by means of a letter.
Nastasi sent his letter reply to Carrie’s family in December 2013 and the two parties already had met a couple of times before.
For Schwartzenberger, he waited about 18 months to write his reply.
“I didn’t want to be the one who didn’t make it,” he said.
On Saturday, he met the family for the first time.
Nastasi wore a shirt that read, “I wear green for the organ donor who saved my life.”
“Even out of a tragedy, some good things can happen,” he said. “It’s heartbreaking, though.”
Schwartzenberger returned to work just four months after his operation. He’s still working.
He relayed the story of once finding himself crying when he realized he could once again do yard work.
Nastasi can relate. At one time, he got winded after going up just a few stairs, he said.
“When you can’t do things and then you can, it’s awesome,” he said. “All because of one person.”
It is the hope of Benny Gay that by publishing this story, more organ recipients will reach out to the families of their donors.
He hopes to make the gathering to honor Carrie’s memory an annual event. It’s possible that next year’s event will include a memorial run, he said.