CHICAGO (FAXX/jGLi) – Eighteen-year-old Filipino American pre-med student Kevin Khoi Signo might have touched so many lives while he was alive. But Kevin made sure that in death, he will be part of so many lives.
Before his life was snuffed out after taking a fatal fall right after taking a break from rehearsing Filipino folk dance Pandanggo Sa Ilaw (Dance In the Light) and other modern dances with his fellow members of Filipino Students Association at his Baylor University in Waco, Texas, he listed useful parts of his body that should be given away in case he dies so others may live or lead healthier lives.
Kevin’s father, Henry R. Signo, told this reporter that so far, according to the wishes of his son, the following organs that were given away from Kevin’s body parts are his pair of eyes, his heart, pericardium (a protective sac around the heart and the roots of the major veins and arteries leading to it), bones and ligaments, major arteries in both legs and skin.
At the back of a United States driver’s license, the license holder can indicate if he would like to be an organ donor and can identify any organ or tissue he wants to donate and Kevin signed up as a donor.
Signo was not informed of the number of organ recipients but he is happy that some people are benefiting from his Kevin’s body parts as a legacy that Kevin left behind.
The 45-year-old private sector project manager, who holds an MBA degree, said Kevin’s death was “tragic” but his short life touched so many lives when more than 300 people attended Kevin’s funeral services.
Kevin, who would have turned 19 last Saturday (March 15), was practicing a routine last March 2 when he “attempted a flip and tragically landed wrong causing injuries that eventually took his life” inside the Marrs McLean gym of Baylor University.
Rose Youngblood, Director of Development of Baylor University and Filipino Students Association Advisor, said, “it is my understanding that Kevin was not conscious at all after the fall.”
Signo said he and his wife, Jackie, are struck by the legacy touched by their Kevin that “continues to affect many lives and donation of his organs, being done, motivating factors … (to) a lot of people (that) we want to continue his legacy as well.”
In a symbiotic turn of events, some people, his family did not know, approached them and offered scholarship in Kevin’s name. Signo, a native of Dagupan City in the Philippines, said Joe Thomasson, Chief Executive Officer of Centennial Hospital in Frisco, Texas, was “moved and touched by his humbleness and gentleness” and offered a scholarship in Kevin’s honor.
Thomasson was inspired by accounts of Centennial Hospital’s cardiologist Dr. Vilhnu Kalidindi, who supervised last summer Kevin’s internship at the hospital. Signo said Thomasson “visited us and extended condolence to us. He was impressed by Kevin for touching their lives and wanted to put a scholarship fund in Kevin’s honor.”
BAYLOR SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIP ENDOWMENT
Earlier, the Signo family opened a scholarship endowment at Baylor University and asked donors to Kevin’s funeral to mail donations to Baylor University, In Memory of Kevin Signo, One Bear Place #97050, Waco TX 76798.
In a statement, Youngblood said, “My heart is broken for Kevin’s family and friends. As we celebrate the memory of our dear friend. We are inspired to live life to the fullest like Kevin always did. My colleagues at Baylor and I are dedicated to our students and will do all we can to care for those who are grieving the loss of a truly special friend.”
She added, “many people are devastated by this loss and the overwhelming media coverage has been very difficult for a lot of students and family members. The headlines and the way stories have been written have, in my opinion, lost sight of the incredible student we lost and have focused on the “freak accident,” to use the wording in your article’s headline. I would ask that you please consider this as you move forward with your story.
“I’m just trying to help protect the students and Kevin’s family any way I can while understanding that many people in the media are doing their duty to report the news.”
Kevin was born in Park Ridge, Illinois, where former First Lady and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton grew up. He had a younger sister, Julie, 15, a freshman high school student, who wanted to be a veterinarian.
Kevin’s family lives in Frisco, Texas but Kevin never visited his father’s homeland. Henry said Kevin planned to take a vacation in 2014 in the Philippines.
Although Henry left the Philippines when he was five years old in 1972, he could no longer speak Pangasinense but still understands his ethnic language. He joined his parents, Genaro Aquino Signo, a high school teacher, and Julita Felisa Rosal Signo, a dentist, when they came to the United States. His parents now live in Beverly Hills, Florida while his parents-in-law, Quynh and Long Nguyen also live in Frisco, Texas.
Henry’s wife Jackie Q. (Nguyen) Signo, 51, was born in Nha Trang, Vietnam and works as a compliance officer.
Kevin is survived by his aunts, uncles and many friends. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Photo of Kevin Khoi Signo in his high school graduation attire. (FAXX/jGLi Photo Courtesy of Signo Family)