After he turned 18 in December, Kyle Flake signed up to be an organ donor.
At 12:45 a.m., Wednesday, the San Tan Valley Combs High senior football player was declared brain dead. He remained on life support until Friday afternoon, when he was taken to the operating room by surgeons, who facilitated his organ donations, his step-mother, Sabrina Flake, said. She said that was necessary to allow the donation of his heart and lungs.
He had been in intensive care since April 29 when he was involved in a car accident in Florence.
Flake’s Dec. 22 decision to become an organ donor now gives hope to others.
According to a Facebook post, Flake was able to make “at least 17 donations to help others.”
“They’re thinking something like 50 people are going to be touched by his donations,” said assistant football coach James Loggins, who coached Flake since his freshman year. “He’s a different breed.
“Kyle was the first one to stand up for someone who was bullied.”
Travis Miller, who coached Flake in wrestling the past four seasons and made him a team captain, said that Flake registered to be an organ donor on his own.
“Extremely unselfish, giving kid,” said Miller, who was promoted to head football coach in the off-season. “I would have my 7-year-old son out with the varsity kids, and Kyle would take time mentor him.
“He had a real fun side. He kept everybody loose. He’d come by my classroom while class would go on, and he’d look through the window and make a face at me or blow a kiss at me. He liked to joke around and have fun.”
An outpouring of love showed Saturday morning when a car wash was held on the family’s behalf at a Big O’s Tires in Gilbert to help with funeral expenses.
“I can’t say how many cars are wrapped around,” Loggins said. “It’s three or four rows deep with 150 cars. What is nice is that kids from Queen Creek and (Eloy) Santa Cruz and American Leadership came out, about 100 kids from other schools, helping out.”
Chandler, Poston Butte and Florence football teams also gave their support, according to Combs assistant football coach Chris Shaw.
“He touched a lot of kids’ lives,” Shaw said. “After a tough loss, he would be chatting it up with the other team, telling them how good they are. He was an all-around good guy.”
On Wednesday night, a candlelight vigil was held at the school. That brought out football players from rival high schools.
And a GoFundMe page was created for Flake’s family toward a funeral/memorial fund.
Flake was a will linebacker on the football team, recording 50 tackles and blocking three kicks on special teams last season.
He was a four-year varsity wrestler, who placed in sectionals last season.
“If we had a car wash for someone else, Kyle would be the first one to do that,” Loggins said.
Junior Loggins, who will be a senior quarterback next football season at Combs, called Flake “an astounding athlete and natural born leader.”
“He always led by example and helped others strive as an athlete,” Junior said. “He was the kindest person you’d ever meet.”