The parents of a baby boy who became the U.K.’s youngest organ donor have spoken publicly for the first time about their decision to donate his kidneys to a total stranger.
Little Teddy, who was born with a healthy twin brother Noah, only lived for 100 minutes but it was long enough for pioneering surgery to be carried out on him.
His parents Jess Evans, 28, and Mike Houlston, 30, knew during pregnancy that Teddy would not survive more than a day or two after birth. Teddy’s kidneys and heart valves were removed by the specialist NHS organ retrieval team at University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff and transplanted into a man suffering from renal failure in St. James’s Hospital in Leeds — 233 miles away.
Noah has just turned one and his parents have shared the story of his twin brother’s incredible donation. Mr. Houlston told the Daily Mirror: “He lived and died a hero. It’s impossible to explain how proud we are of him.”
“Although he wasn’t with us very long, and we brought him into the world knowing there was no hope of a life for him, we are incredibly proud of his heroism,” said Miss Evans. “Knowing part of your loved one is living on in someone else is comforting. We hope Teddy’s story will inspire families who find themselves in the position of losing a child.”
It’s incredibly rare for a newborn baby to be considered as a donor and Teddy made history as the youngest organ donor in the U.K.
Dr. Paul Murphy of NHS Blood and Transplant hopes that Teddy’s gift of life will have a lasting effect by making it easier for babies who die early to donate. He told the Daily Mirror: “In handing their baby over to the transplant team, Mike and Jess did so with love and hope and an absolute conviction that they were doing the right thing. In telling Teddy’s story, they demand that everyone, young and old, follows their example.”
Knowing your baby isn’t going to live more than a few hours or days is heartbreaking. But Teddy’s parents found some comfort from his organ donation. “It helps us so much to know he has helped someone else and helped doctors realise donation from small babies is possible and is something people like us want to make happen,” said Miss Evans.
People of all ages can become an organ donor by signing up online or calling 0300 123 23 23.