A community is left “devastated, completely devastated” after sudden loss

Teen, Joseph Stagnaro, unexpectedly passed away
Teen, Joseph Stagnaro, unexpectedly passed away
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 7:14 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - The community at Sacred Heart Catholic School in East Grand Forks is rallying around a family that lost their 17-year-old son this week. Today, the teen, Joe Stagnaro, went into surgery to donate his organs. The Stagnaro family says the community has given them an outpouring of love and support after their son died of an undiagnosed medical condition.

Joe was known to be a kind, generous, and loving person. He was best friends with his twin brother, Oscar, and especially enjoyed the outdoors. The high-school junior was planning to attend Mississippi State University to become a veterinarian. Joe’s giving spirit carried with him in all areas of life. Including being an organ donor. When Joe got his driver’s license at 16 his dad told him, “check the box.” Joe’s dad is a flight paramedic and has seen first hand, the power of organ donation.

“Joe’s gonna change the lives of, immediately, six people,” says Joe’s dad, Doug Stagnaro.

Being an organ donor is just one way to have a far-reaching, lasting impact on people you’ve never met, but Joe has made an incredible impact on everyone in his life and the people he will donate to. And his family is proud of the way that Joe is still helping.

The moms of Joe’s classmates say, “they know that they have us just to lean on, and that they can call and just cry, and no-one is gonna try and fix it, no-one is gonna try and make it better, we’re just there to help them.”

After the devastating loss of Joe, his family is also encouraging everyone to take a little extra time to show your loved ones how you feel.

“Give everyone a kiss before you go to work, before you go home, all that, because you never know,” urges Stagnaro.

Instead of flowers, Joe’s family is requesting donations to the Sacred Heart School scholarship fund for the creation of a scholarship celebrating Joseph Stagnaro’s life.