Haverhill boy dies after bicycle, car collide 

Nathan Deleon, 12, of Haverhill died Friday at Tufts Floating Children's Hospital in Boston. Nathan was hit by car near his home on Aug. 16. 

HAVERHILL — Nathan Deleon of Haverhill told his mother over and over "I am going to be famous one day. I'm going to be on YouTube."

"And I would say, 'You are going to do something better, something much better,'" Judy Deleon said. 

Just hours after Nathan, 12, died on Thursday, Deleon had already been notified that her son's heart and kidneys were donation matches for transplant patients. 

The woman getting his kidneys, a petite mother in her late 30s who has been on dialysis, is someone Deleon knows. She declined to identify the woman but said she lives in the Merrimack Valley. 

"She's a perfect match," Deleon said. "This will save her. ... She will live now because of Nathan." 

Nathan was hit by a car while bicycling in his Haverhill neighborhood on Aug. 16.

He was not wearing a helmet, suffered significant brain trauma and underwent two brain surgeries in Tufts Floating Hospital for Children in Boston in attempts to reduce swelling.  

But, in the first hours after the accident, doctors told Judy and her husband, Jeremy, the outcome was grim. 

Six days after the accident, Nathan died at Tufts. Seven of the boy's organs were harvested for transplants. 

"He is an angel," his mother said. "He is famous like he always wanted." 

Nathan, who was autistic, was about to start seventh-grade in a therapeutic setting at Bartlett School in Haverhill.

"He was the happiest kid I've ever seen in my life," said K.C. Godin, owner of Premier Martial Arts in Haverhill, where Nathan took private lessons with him. 

Godin recalled Nathan as a "big kid," who was "surprising strong" for his age — and incredibly fun loving. 

"He was always happy and laughing," said Godin.

Judy, a social worker with the state's Department of Children and Families, said she always encouraged Nathan to embrace his personality and be himself.

And if that meant he felt like dancing in the middle of the mall or the grocery store, then do it.

"Be yourself and enjoy being yourself ... I always encouraged him to just be Nathan," she said, describing her oldest boy as "very smart" and "super social." 

She said Nathan rode his bike every day this summer but always refused to wear his bicycle helmet. Judy candidly said she believes the helmet would have saved his life. 

"Wear your helmets," Deleon urged. 

She stressed the accident "basically happened in front of his house, in a residential neighborhood."

The driver involved in the accident stopped and stayed with Nathan as rescuers arrived, she said.

No one was charged immediately after the accident and police have not indicated if charges are forthcoming. 

A marathoner, Deleon runs to raise money for various charities including the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation For Autism and the Last Call Foundation, in memory of fallen Boston Firefighter Michael Kennedy. 

Her next big race will be for Tufts Floating Children's Hospital, where she praised all those who cared for Nathan. 

"They did the best they could. They did everything," she said. 

Funeral arrangements were incomplete Friday. In addition to his parents, Nathan is also survived by a younger sister and brother. 

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill. 




A fund has been established to help the family of Nathan Deleon, 12, who died Thursday following a bicycling accident in Haverhill. 


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