At just 100 minutes old, Teddy Houlston became the youngest organ donor in the UK — and a hero in the eyes of his grieving parents.
Jess Evans and Mike Houlston — who've since begun fundraising for the charity 2 Wish Upon a Star, which aims to help parents who have lost infants or children — were told when she was just 12 weeks pregnant with twins boys that one of them wasn't going to live after he was diagnosed with anencephaly, a rare and fatal condition that prevents the normal development of the brain and bones in the skull.
A Twitter profile has been set up in Teddy's honor.
His condition was so serious that he would either be stillborn or die shortly after being delivered. Calling the news "soul destroying," Jess' thoughts soon turned towards organ donation.
Though doctors offered them the option to abort Teddy, Jess told the 'Daily Mirror,' "We thought that even if we had a moment with him, or 10 minutes, or an hour, that time was the most precious thing that we would ever experience” — another reason they're choosing to raise money for 2 Wish Upon a Star, which focuses on bereavement services.
It's incredibly rare for new babies to become organ donors, but thanks to an innovative surgery, Teddy was able to donate his kidneys, which became fully functional at around 37 weeks in the womb, and his heart valves.
The kidney donation saved an adult with renal failure, whom Jess and Mike have since exchanged letters with. “[Teddy] lived and died a hero," Mike told the 'Daily Mirror' while Jess added, "Although he wasn’t with us very long...we are incredibly proud of his heroism."
April 22 marked a year since Teddy's passing, which also saw the birth of his twin brother Noah. The family, including Jess' three-year-old daughter, Billie, from a previous relationship, visited his grave.
Although she never got to know one of her brothers, Billie has an extremely special memento to remember him by: a stuffed teddy bear that plays the baby's heart beat at the push of a button.
To help the Houlston's in their fundraising goal for 2 Wish Upon a Star, visit their page on Just Giving.
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