"I knew he was going to help someone out" ... Kim Whitworth at a hospital memorial for those who have donated organs or tissues after death. Photo: Ron Jenkins
Simon Alexander Garcia lived only one brief hour. But somewhere, a little girl’s heart is beating today because of him.
Kim Whitworth and her husband, Michael Garcia, were devastated to learn at their 20-week ultrasound examination last year that their first child’s lungs and bladder were developing abnormally.
Though they knew their son would not survive, the Fort Worth, Texas, couple chose to continue the pregnancy.
Simon was born just before midnight June 28 at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth, two weeks ahead of his expected due date.
“He had so much hair it was hard to believe,” said Whitworth, 21. “Everyone was amazed at how beautiful he was.”
Not long after Simon took his final breath, his parents were asked whether they would consider donating his heart valves to possibly help other children in need.
“My husband and I said ’yes.’ We didn’t hesitate,” Whitworth said.
It wasn’t until last week that Whitworth and Garcia learned that one of Simon’s heart valves went to a little girl at a Dallas hospital in February.
“When I found out, I was overjoyed. I broke down in tears” said Garcia, 22. “He died for a purpose. I knew he was going to help someone out.”
Simon’s family shared their story this week as part of America’s National Donate Life Month.
Since 2010, the Texas hospital has annually recognised donors such as Simon and recipients by adding their names to the Wall of Life.
“There are a lot of people who have lost a loved one tragically. Everyone has their own way of dealing with it,” said Whitworth, who encouraged people to consider organ donation.
“But I think if you can do it, do it. It gives you hope that maybe your loved one can live on in someone else.”
Whitworth said she hopes that one day she can meet the little girl whose life Simon touched.
“I would absolutely love that,” she said.
Visit donatelife.gov.au to learn about organ and tissue donation in Australia.
- MCT/Fort Worth Star-Telegram