Stevie's Story: A White Bear Lake Family's Priceless Gift
Every ten minutes, another name is added to the list of Americans who need a life saving organ transplant. Dozens of those waiting in Minnesota are children.
For four-month-old Stephen Thomas Eytcheson of White Bear Lake, the wait ended this May without the gift he needed. "Baby Stevie" lived his four months and one day at the hospital. His mother Molly was still pregnant when she learned her baby was fighting a congenital heart condition.
"When he was born, it was amazing. It was shocking because it went so quick," Molly Eytcheson said.
Stephen was in surgery three days after birth and was was added to the transplant list two months later.
"We'd keep a tally of the days we were on the list, and some days that was the only thing you looked forward to was just marking off another day on the list," Eytcheson said.
In May, doctors told Molly and her husband Tom that Stephen had had a stroke.
"I looked at her and said, well is this the end of the road and she said I don't know," Eytcheson said.
Stephen died that day, but it wasn't the end of the road. The Eytchesons decided to make a life saving donation.
"That was a no brainer for us," Eytcheson said. "Had a heart come a week before for Stephen, maybe we would be doing this interview in a bouncy chair."
Stephen donated his tissues, knees, heart and even an autopsy, all for medical research.
"As long as it had the word 'donate' in it, we were all for it because we didn't want anybody else to have to go through this, waiting on a list, for that donation," Eytcheson said.
Stephen was able to give the gift he could not receive and his parents believe his short life had a purpose.
"Why he was born, what he was meant to do was spread this word about donation," Eytcheson said.
More than 3,000 Minnesotans are waiting for a life saving transplants. You can register to become a donor. Click here to learn how.