How strangers are helping a mum's wish come true after her death

Brian Marquez and baby Brixton today.
Brian Marquez and baby Brixton today.  Photo: CBS Local

Already a mum to four kids, Liz Marquez was passionate about breastfeeding. So when she gave birth to son Brixton at 32 weeks, she was determined to do what she could to breastfeed him until he was at least a year old.

Tragically, Liz had a heart attack not long after Brixton came out of the NICU at five months. After being a coma for eight days she was declared brain dead, and her family made the heartbreaking decision to turn off life support. She was only 32.

That's when her friends decided to do whatever it took to help baby Brixton continue breastfeeding for the full year, as his mum had hoped.

Gone too soon: Mum of five Liz Marquez and her son Brixton.
Gone too soon: Mum of five Liz Marquez and her son Brixton.  Photo: Facebook

"My first thoughts went to the children," Kristina Pulistar, who had met Liz at a local babywearing group, told The Huffington Post. "I just had a feeling inside of me that I needed to help."

That's when Kristina and her friends started the Milk for Brixton Project. The project, which is supported by the Normalize Breastfeeding blog, and which runs though a private Facebook group, sees women donating milk in honour of Liz and her wishes.

The group has the full support of Liz's husband, Brian Marquez. "I know how important it was to my wife that our child be purely breastfed for at least one year," he told Normalize Breastfeeding. "I feel it's part of my commitment to carry that goal out for my wife."

In just six days, the group had organised 13 drop off points in the local Southern California area. And in less than a week, breastfeeding mums had donated an amazing 44 litres of milk for Brixton.

And they weren't just giving milk – other mums, including actress Alyssa Milano, supported the project by donating vouchers for petrol, so the milk could be transported at no cost to the family. Other funds have been used to buy a freezer just for the milk.

Now, the group has donated more than 133 litres of breast milk – so much so that donations have been postponed so Brixton has time to get through it all.

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Milk for Brixton will now benefit even more babies, as Kristina has decided to expand the project.

"I'd like to put together an organisation to help get donor milk to infants who have lost their mother," she told The Huffington Post. "I would even like to help infants who have mothers with illnesses that prevent them from being breastfed.

"I want to make a difference and normalise donor milk sharing."

Brixton was in the NICU for months after being born at 32 weeks.
Brixton was in the NICU for months after being born at 32 weeks.  Photo: CBS Local

Through the project, and the group of women donating to help Brixton, Liz will never be forgotten, as Kristina says: "Liz was an amazing woman and mother. Her babies were her world and we've all assumed the role of making sure they're okay."

Liz's sister has started a GoFundMe page - you can donate to the 'Show Liz some love' campaign to help the family.  

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