Organ donor’s family meets 3-year-old recipient, family

DORAL, FLA. (WSVN) - A 3-year-old and her family are expressing their gratitude to the relatives of the man who donated an organ to her.

Friday marked a reunion that the two families would not forget. The organ donor and organ recipient’s family met for the first time, but they already have a bond that extends beyond words.

Three years ago, 23-year-old Kenneth Romero died from an asthma attack. “He was an amazing, an amazing person,” said Ruth Romero, the donor’s sister.

She administered CPR, but was unable to save him. Kenneth’s organs were donated, which changed five lives, including that of 3-year-old Deanna Anderson.

“I have a mixture of emotions right now, but I want to put her in a little bubble and keep her safe,” Romero said.

Deanna suffered from a liver disease that left her sick and constantly hospitalized. “A week before we got the call, we thought we were gonna lose her,” said Deanna’s mother, Heidi Anderson.

She was just 7 months old at the time, but it was drastically changed when she received Kenneth’s liver.

“She’s very outgoing. She loves to dance. She loves school,” Anderson said. “Looking at her, I want everyone to know that this is organ donation.”

Stories of hope like this is why dozens gathered on Friday at the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue headquarters to raise awareness and celebrate National Donate Life Blue and Green Day.

“You are grateful every day,” said organ recipient Maria Gamboa, “because if it’s not for the decision of this person, you are not here.”

Recipients like Gamboa said that while they have a sense of gratitude, there’s now a feeling of responsibility to spread the word and encourage others to donate. “Heaven doesn’t need organs,” Anderson said. “We need them on earth.”

April is National Organ Donation Month. Currently, 100,000 adults and children are waiting for the call stating that they have received the donation they need.

To donate, go to Donate Life America at https://www.donatelife.net/

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