When news came that Samantha Moore passed away earlier this month, the entire community grieved. We are still grieving. Not only for her, but for her younger sister, Brandi, who also passed away several years ago.
Both girls had received heart transplants. Both Samantha and Brandi, along with their younger brother, Gary, were diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy — meaning all three hearts were shutting down.
Samantha was only 15 years old when she received her new heart. For more than five years, her new heart gave her strength, it gave her life and it gave her a chance to meet the love of her life, her son, Aiden.
Refugia Moore, the sibling’s grandmother and adoptive mother, said Samantha loved her son more than anything. She said the two were inseparable and went everywhere together.
“She just loved him, and gave him everything,” Refugia said of Samantha.
And that’s what Refugia gave to Samantha, Brandi and Gary as well. For years, Refugia and her husband, Raymond, opened their door and welcomed with open arms their three grandchildren. It didn’t matter that they were sick, it didn’t matter that the prognosis was dim. All that mattered to this family was that they were together — that they took care of one another.
While Samantha and Brandi are now gone, their legacies not only live on in the memories of those who knew them, but in Aiden, Gary, Refugia and Raymond.
This Belen family has been through so much, including countless doctor’s visits, frequent hospital stays and now, another funeral of a young woman who gave so much to her family and her community.
For those who didn’t know Samantha, you missed a lot. She was a funny and witty girl who had dreams. When interviewed by the News-Bulletin in March 2007, a month before her transplant, Samantha said she wanted to be a pediatric psychologist. She wanted to make a difference — and she did.