BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The mother of a toddler who passed away over the weekend discussed her decision to give the gift of life to another with News 4. A 5-year-old boy in New York City has the young boy’s heart, and others have his intestines, kidney, liver and pancreas.
The toddler, Cayden Hunt of Ransomville, passed away on Sunday at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. “It progressed very rapidly and just succumbed to his illness,” the boy’s mother explained.
Cayden would have turned 3 years-old in June.
His mother, Amanda Castile, in her most difficult hours, opted to donate his organs so that others may live. “My baby was special and he deserved to just live on,” Castile said. “He was a clown. If he saw you laugh he would just keep going about it.”
Currently about 23 percent of Western New Yorkers are registered to be organ donors when they pass away, but so many more are needed.
“Every time a family agrees to donation, I’m just overwhelmed by the grace and the courage and the just difficulty of the decision that they’re able to make,” said Dr. Wayne Waz, Medical Director of UNYTS. “There are about 122,000 people on the waiting list for organs around the country and typically, in any given year, about 25,000 transplants happen. So you can see there’s a huge need for organ donors and a number of patients end up not getting transplanted.”
“It feels like it’s making me just stronger and able to move on knowing that my son has a purpose,” Castile said. “Like people are on their deathbeds and my son is giving them a second chance at life. A new hope when all hope is lost for him. Today, five or six other people are benefiting from what my son had to give.”
Castile, along with her family and friends, gathered for a private vigil to remember Cayden Monday night in Niagara Falls. Castile says she’s not yet sure if she’s ready to meet the children whose lives were saved by her young child.
Castile said, “I’m able to bless somebody with something they didn’t have. You may have to live without your child, but you can save another parent from feeling how you feel. Somebody gets to hug their kid again at the end of the night.”
Castile decided to share her story with News 4 so that others may consider organ donation and understand important it is. You can register to be an organ donor when you renew your driver’s license, or through the UNYTS website.