This National Donate Life Month we asked our member organ procurement organizations (OPOs) to share with us the stories that demonstrate the life-saving work they do every day, and the incredible gift of life organ, eye and tissue donation can provide. The following story was submitted by Javier Nieto-Sanchez, MD, CSA, Donation Clinical Specialist at LifeGift in Houston, Texas.

Photo by Juhan Sonin via Flickr.

It was an otherwise regular checkup for baby Angel and his twin brother when the doctor noticed something in the ultrasound: Angel had not developed a brain. A diagnosis of anencephaly shatters the dreams of future parents for their babies, as this condition is not compatible with life. Babies born with anencephaly have a lifespan of minutes to days.

In the wake of Angel’s grim prognosis, his parents asked the doctor if Angel would be able to help others and whether he could be an organ donor. The doctor referred them to LifeGift, the organ procurement organization in their area. When specialists from LifeGift met with Angel’s parents, it became clear that Angel would not be developed enough to have his organs suitable for medical transplantation. Still, the option for organ research was offered to his parents. Without hesitation, Angel’s parents told the coordinator, “If our son could help another family through research, we want to help in any way we can.”

Two weeks earlier than expected Sweet baby Angel and his twin brother were born. Every parent wishes for their baby to grow up and be part of something important; to leave a legacy, to be honored and to be remembered. For the short time Angel was a part of this world, he experienced the love of his parents, the companionship of his twin brother, and left a legacy that could provide hope to many in the future.

Photos do not depict baby Angel or his family. Angel’s story was shared with family’s permission./em>