Donation Stories

Our Story

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.

Amalya Nathaniel

Photography by EJ Fleck, Bella Baby Photographer

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 NBCYahoo!, The Mighty) and learn more about our back story by clicking here.

Your Story

We love sharing other families’ stories. 

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