RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- Anybody can be an organ donor, it’s as simple as checking a box. For some, the decision is an easy one. For others, like Felicia Hill, it’s a choice that helped turn an unthinkable tragedy into a second chance at life for two complete strangers.
Three years ago today, Hill gave birth to a daughter, Audrey Jade Hope. Just three days after her beautiful daughter was born, for reasons doctors were never able to explain, baby Audrey stopped breathing, and passed away in her mother’s arms.
"The medical examiners and the doctors couldn’t give me any medical reason why she had to die basically,” says Felicia, “So for me, it was so she could save other people.”
In the midst of her own grief, Felicia saw that Audrey could help others by donating her organs. An infant in Canada received a lifesaving heart while Audrey's kidneys rescued woman from dialysis.
As she does each year on the anniversary of her daughter's birth, Felicia went to the grave her of daughter to release balloons in her memory.
Hill's story of sacrifice gained international attention at this year's Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena. Audrey's portrait was part of the Donate Life "Light Up the World" float in the parade. That portrait was presented to Felicia by the California Transplant Donor Network which helps donors and their families carry out their lifesaving wishes.
“This day is a sad day in a way because a child passed away at just six days old,” says Anthony Borders, communications director at the California Transplant Donor Network. “But it's also a day to remember that mother, who in the midst of her grief, made a really important choice.”
Borders praises Felicia’s strength and courage and says that her choice to donate Audrey’s organs should serve as a reminder for all of us, that choosing to be a donor can save the lives of countless others.
The California Transplant Donor Network saves and improves lives by facilitating organ and tissue donation for transplantation. The California Transplant Donor Network partners with 170 hospitals in 40 Northern and Central California and Northern Nevada counties to offer the option of organ and tissue donation to families whose loved ones have died and coordinates deceased organ and tissue recovery and placement to waiting transplant recipients. Through its public education efforts, the hope is that every resident will choose to become a donor. The California Transplant Donor Network is federally designated as the region's organ recovery organization. For information, call 888-570-9400 or visit www.ctdn.org