By the Hand, Kids Learn Meaning of “Life Goes On”

A little boy was killed in a tragic auto accident 27 years ago, and his liver was donated to a 9-month-old girl, which saved her life.

During June, more than 200 students of By the Hand Club for Kids will celebrate the life, death and gift of life Evan Samata, then just over two years old, gave to Kara Thio, who is now 27 and recently became Mrs. Brendon Smith. The students will also honor Evan’s parents, Greg and Pat Samata, who make Evan’s Life Month possible at By the Hand.

By the Hand children are creating posters to educate and increase awareness for organ donations. On Monday, June 3 at By the Hand Club for Kids, located at 415 N. Laramie Ave, judges chose the best posters.

The kids celebrated Evan’s Life Month with the Samatas at 4:45 p.m. on Thursday, June 6 by tying blue hearts, which honors donors and recipients of organs, on a pear tree donated by the Thio family.

The winning posters will be displayed in public places throughout the month and on the website at to promote organ donation.

“As a young girl, Kara and her mother, Victoria, joined a coalition of organ recipients who went to Washington D.C. and spoke before congress about the importance of organ donation,” said Pat Samata. “Kara also participated in the Pasadena Rose Bowl Parade as she rode on the “Life Goes On” float while holding a large photograph of her donor, Evan.”

“Organ donation is vitally important, and we are very grateful that Pat and Greg Samata and their son Evan make it possible each year for our students to learn the true meaning of how life goes on through organ donation,” said Donnita Travis, founder and executive director of By the Hand.

By the Hand is an after-school program that emphasizes academic excellence while nurturing the whole child — mind, body and soul. Its five clubs serve nearly 1500 students located in Cabrini-Green, Englewood, Altgeld-Gardens and two in Austin.



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