Thirteen-month-old Titus Sickles is alive today because of a life-saving heart transplant he received from an unknown donor.
One year ago, Rena and Andy Sickles from Toledo, Washington, watched helplessly as their newborn son fought for his life.
Titus was born with half a heart that could not pump blood effectively, and without a new heart, the boy would not survive.
Rena Sickles told “Good Morning America” that she was bracing for the possibility of burying her baby, who was just three months old and rapidly declining.
“I hadn’t really had any meltdowns but I just broke down and said, ‘He’s about done fighting,’” she said.
“[My husband and I] agreed that if he was done, we were going to let him go. We couldn’t watch him suffer anymore.”
“The call for the transplant came the next day.”
Titus survived a four-hour heart transplant surgery at Seattle Children’s Hospital on April 7, 2018.
Rena and Andy learned that only about an hour passed from the time the heart was taken from the infant donor’s body and given to Titus, leading them to believe the donor family is located somewhere in the Seattle area.
On Jan. 8, Rena and Andy celebrated as Titus turned 1 year old — a milestone they know was only possible because of organ donation.
Because of privacy rules, the Sickles family has no information about the donor or the donor’s family.
They are hopeful that a photo of Titus will reach the donor’s family so they can see how their loss saved a vulnerable baby.
“My child has their child’s heart beating inside of him and he’s thriving and it’s all because of them,” Rena said. “I’d love to thank them in person.”
“I figure if we get the picture out, maybe the parents or grandmother or an aunt or uncle will see it,” Rena said.
“Even if they don’t reach out to us, maybe they’ll see it and get a little healing from that.”
The Sickles family hopes that Titus’ story will also encourage others to consider registering as an organ donor.
The baby who was on the brink of death is now happy, smiling and doing his best to keep up with his three older brothers.
“We were so close to burying our child and organ donation is the absolutely only reason he’s still here,” Rena said.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.