This site has been created in honor of our son, Amalya Nathaniel. (His name means “Work of the Lord” and “Given by God.”) He was diagnosed at 11 weeks 2 days gestation with a neural tube defect called anencephaly. This condition is 100% fatal, and typically babies with anencephaly pass away either in utero or shortly after birth. Despite this devastating diagnosis, we chose to carry to term, embrace our child’s life, shower him with love, and make as many memories as possible.
Not only did we want to make the most of our son’s life, but we wanted to make the most of his death. We wanted to allow our son to make as much of an impact on this world as possible. To fulfill this desire, we decided to pursue organ and whole body donation. We were new to the world of donation, and we were not even sure where to start. Unfortunately, during our journey, we were given lots of misinformation. We were told on multiple occasions that donation was not a possibility, and in light of all the obstacles, we feared Amalya would be unable to donate. With much determination, research, persistence, and a miracle, we were blessed at the end of our journey to be able to donate our son’s liver, pancreas, and whole body to three different research groups along with blood and skin samples to two different research groups. Each of his donations went directly to the medical/scientific community to advance knowledge, train medical professionals, and help make treatments better for other people. Several of our son’s donations went to pediatric-specific research. We are thankful for the International Institute for the Advancement of Medicine who found placements for his donations.
Since donating, we have been blessed to learn a little about how Amalya Nathaniel’s gifts were used, and the amazing impact they had. We even received a letter from one of the researchers who stated that because of his donation, hundreds of pediatric patients’ lives will be saved. We could not be more proud of our son. For us, donation was able to add an extra layer of meaning to his short 37 weeks in utero and 1 hour and 20 minutes alive in our arms. It has also brought us unexplainable peace, joy, and healing. We love sharing how our son has made an impact on the world and how he was able to give back to the scientific and medical communities. Although he is greatly missed, we could not be more blessed by how the Lord used our little boy.
We created Purposeful Gift in July 2013 and became a 501c3 non-profit in December 2014. Purposeful Gift has been designed to help other families walk through the process of donation with the hope of allowing them to experience the same pride, joy, and healing through the experience of donation, despite the painful devastation of loss.
To learn more about Purposeful Gift, visit the About Us page.
Eric and Bethany Conkel
Our Story Continues – Articles and Documentary
You can read more about our continuing story by reading articles written about our son’s gifts (including articles by NBC, Yahoo!, DailyMail.com, The Mighty) and learn more about our back story by clicking here.
We love sharing other families’ stories. If you would like to share your story please contact us and we will give you more information.
Thomas’s Story – eyes, liver cells, and cord blood donor
Anna Vittoria’s Story – heart valve donor
Amelia’s Story – heart valve donor
Annie’s Story – heart valve, lung, pancreas, intestine, kidney, and liver donor
Palmer’s Story – heart valve donor
Eli’s Story – heart valve donor
Stella’s Story – liver cells donor
Kipton’s Story – heart valve donor
Denali’s Story – heart valve donor
Benjamin’s Story – heart valve donor
Skylar’s Story – liver cell donor
Jesaiah’s Story – donation awareness
Wonderful’s Story – donation awareness
Davi’s Story – heart valve donor (United Kingdom)
Christopher’s Story – donation awareness