Palatine High School hockey player dies after weekend dirt bike crash
Hundreds of family members, friends, classmates and teammates celebrated the life of Palatine teen Andrew Marton from a distance in a ceremony outside Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge Wednesday.
The 16-year-old Palatine High School student died Tuesday afternoon from injuries suffered in a dirt bike crash on Saturday.
Andrew Marton was riding with his father, Adam, enjoying the hobby they shared for years, said Jill Readel, Andrew's aunt. The Martons were near their Palatine home on a city street when Andrew somehow lost control, left the road and struck a tree. He was wearing a helmet.
Adam Marton performed CPR until paramedics arrived, but Andrew was unresponsive. He never regained consciousness. He was declared brain dead at Advocate Lutheran at 2:57 p.m. Tuesday.
"He was amazing, full of life," said Jill Maczko, Andrew's aunt. "He had huge dreams."
Marton's organs were donated to five individuals, a 17-year-old boy among them.
"He was obviously such a big-hearted person to do such a thing at the age of 16," Maczko said.
A GoFundMe page established late Tuesday to help the family with medical expenses raised over $35,000 in less than 24 hours.
Andrew was a three-sport athlete who participated in golf and water polo. His main sport was hockey; he played for the Palatine-Schaumburg District 211 team. That hockey community came out in droves to honor one of its own Wednesday.
During a 6:30 p.m. ceremony by A Gift of Hope, the nonprofit group that provides organ and tissue donation services, the organization's flag was raised in honor of Andrew's lifesaving donations.
As the flag ascended the pole, the sounds of hockey sticks banging on the ground in Andrew's honor -- the traditional hockey salute -- could be heard throughout the area.
"It was really cool," Readel said. "And the night before all the players put their sticks and jerseys out on their front porch with the lights on all night. It's a hockey thing when somebody passes."
Parents Adam and Marisa Marton and Andrew's little brother, Zach, wore Andrew's hockey jerseys. Adam held Andrew's stick aloft in tribute to his son as the Gift of Hope flag went up the flagpole.
"It was the most amazing, amazing tribute I've ever seen in my entire life," said family friend Nicole Olson. "The entire street across from Lutheran General was filled with people. They had to bring the police out there."
In addition to the hundreds who spread out across the street from the hospital to see the ceremony, another 827 people watched live via Readel's Facebook page.
"Nobody realized how many lives he actually touched," Readel said of her nephew. "He was just such a good, warm-spirited kid. He was so patient, kind and always helpful."
Andrew got his driver's license in February when he turned 16. He proudly bought his first car with money he had saved doing odd jobs, Maczko said. He took his parents and brother out for a spin in his new wheels last Friday.
"It was their first family ride in his car. My brother has it on video," Maczko said. "It's the most beautiful thing ever, because how would they know what was ahead of them?"