Behind the scenes

Last Wednesday butterflies filled my stomach as I stepped off the elevator in my new dress and high heel shoes. (For those of you who know me well, you may be thinking the butterflies were wardrobe-induced since a fancy dress and heels is far from my typical yoga pants and flip-flops.) I squeezed Eric’s hand and said a little prayer as we turned the corner and walked towards the conference room. We had once again been invited to share the story of our sweet boy, our journey with donation, and the passion we have for helping other neonate families. But, despite the honor of being asked to speak, this was not the reason for my butterflies.

As we stopped in front of the doors to the conference room, we were greeted by one of the organizers who smiled and said, “Oh, perfect! He just got here. Hang on a second.” Then, before I knew it, he was walking towards me, and all I could do was throw my arms around him. Joy filled my heart as I embraced a man I had never met, yet felt so very connected to in so many ways; a man that I had prayed that I would have the privilege of meeting face to face. It was truly a surreal moment.

So, who was this man? Well, his name is Scotty, and he personally cared for my precious Amalya Nathaniel for eight months during his “internship”. You see, Scotty was the primary researcher who used Amalya during his whole body donation. This man helped create my son’s legacy and allowed for his gift to become a catalyst to save hundreds of other lives.

Unlike many researchers, Scotty took the time to get to know our story, and really get to know our son. He truly CARED FOR Amalya, treated him like a tiny human being, and not just a “cadaver”. During conversation with Scotty, he referred to Amalya’s personality, and told us what a great man Amalya had become. In some ways, I view Scotty as a sort of “foster parent” to Amalya. He even ensured that Amalya’s blanket stayed with him for the duration of his internship, and made sure he had something special for Christmas.

As a momma, my heart shattered when I had to say goodbye to my son for the last time. All I wanted to do was keep my son close and protect him. But, I wasn’t able to do that. After letting him go, I desperately desired to know that he would be taken care of, and that he would be used to the utmost, and that our sacrifice was not in vain. Scotty fulfilled my heart’s desire, and so much more. In many ways, I feel like Scotty knew Amalya as well as I did, maybe even a little more. I cannot even begin to put into words how this man has blessed my momma’s heart and how thankful I am for him. I love how the Lord orchestrated the perfect recipient for my son’s gift.

Being able to meet Scotty face to face was, well… incredible! In SO many ways…

During our time with Scotty, we had the opportunity to hear him speak and share about the ways they have been able to utilize Amalya and how his gift has made an impact on the medical community. And folks, let me just say, I was blown away! One thing Amalya was able to do was help Scotty get approval from the FDA for a procedure to take place in a new location and, from what I’ve been told, getting FDA approval is no small matter. I am not able to recount all the specific things Scotty and his team did (and are still doing) with what they learned from Amalya — the medical aspect was beyond me in many ways — but OH, I am such a PROUD, PROUD momma!

Now, one very important thing to realize is the fact that families and researchers very rarely have ANY contact once a donation has occurred, and they NEVER meet. And I mean basically NEVER EVER… So this was pretty miraculous, to say the least. I am so very thankful that the Lord granted us this unique opportunity to meet the man who has done so much for us, and for our little guy. Scotty will always be dear to our hearts as he is part of our son’s legacy, and we are so very grateful.

Bethany, Scotty, Eric, and baby Hazel

On top of getting to meet Scotty, we were also able to spend some time with our wonderful friends at IIAM (the folks who found placements for Amalya’s liver, pancreas, and whole body with each of the researchers, including Scotty). It is always a pleasure to spend time with and talk to these amazing people. Last year we had the privilege of assisting IIAM as they created their Neonatal Donation Program. The goal of the program was to help other families with similar stories to ours. Since that time, I am thrilled to say that they have been able to help 26 other families! That means 26 other babies have been able to donate to research, some of whom would not have qualified for any other type of donation. That is 26 other little lives that have impacted the medical world in mighty ways. Who knows how many lives will be improved or saved because of these amazing gifts? I would also like to say a special thank you to each of these families who gave in the face of incredible loss.

As I sit here tonight my heart is so very full. I would have never chosen this path, but I am so very, very thankful for the beauty we have seen bloom along the path of bitter-sweet. The Lord has taken death and allowed it to provide others with life. He has allowed us to embrace those who have cared for us in ways we never could have imagined and form amazing friendships. We are blessed, and so very thankful.

Comments are closed.