The death of a child is a terrible, soul-destroying event. Any time a little life ends, our hearts break for the family they left behind.
You simply can’t mitigate the pain of someone passing away before his or her time, especially when you can measure the person’s age with single digits. Doing anything other than simply mourning is a fool’s errand.
Still, as terrible as the passing of a child is, blessings can still accompany it. In fact, that’s exactly what happened when a 9-year-old British girl named Keira Ball abruptly died in 2017.
According to the Daily Mail, her family got into a terrible car accident, though the word accident barely describes the devastation of the wreck.
It left her mother and brother on death’s doorway and critically injured young Keira. When physicians examined her in the hospital, they pronounced her brain dead.
However, she was still on life support, and an organ donation team approached her father, Joe Ball, with a simple question: Was he willing to donate his daughter’s organs?
“I just looked at Keira and thought, ‘If Keira was given the option, I’m sure she would have said yes,’” he told BBC. Her mother, Loanna, agreed.
“Yes,” she said, “because that’s just how she is. ‘Yes, give this to whoever,’ you know?”
Still, there’s a difference between knowing something intellectually and then actually experiencing it. And Joe Ball recounted how hard it was to realize what was happening to his daughter.
“I saw there was a line of ambulances,” he said. “Then, one by one, they came out with containers, and so I watched all of her organs leave, which was quite emotional.”
Physicians harvested her heart, liver, pancreas and kidneys, which all went on to save the lives of others. One of those lives was that of a 10-year-old boy named Max Johnson.
Max had cardiomyopathy, a condition that causes the gradual enlarging of the heart. He was on his way to the grave.
“I honestly was ready, ready to die,” Max said. “I didn’t think I’d make it.”
The young boy had heart failure and was stuck in the hospital, at least until Keira’s heart became available.
Max has since met the Balls and let them listen to their daughter’s heart beating in his chest. He explained to them that he named it “Kax,” a portmanteau that squished together his name with Keira’s.
According to the Blackpool Gazette, the Balls have also been instrumental in supporting “Max and Keira’s Law,” legislation that will make organ donation an automatic opt-in process in the U.K. That means there will be greater availability of organs for people who desperately need them.
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