LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — More than 100,000 Americans are on the waiting list for a lifesaving organ transplant and every day 17 people die before getting their second chance at life.
Despite fighting asthma, 11-year-old Cameron Parker had a sparkling smile and a beautiful spirit. His mother Paula Zamora says that Cameron cared so much about other people that she knew he would have wanted to help them by giving them the gift of life.
“He had such an amazing personality and he was such a happy kid. He was hospitalized a lot and had a lot of problems,” Zamora tells 8 News Now.
His family thought they had it under control.
“I had just texted Cameron and I said I miss you and he said I miss you too and then like half an hour later he’s gone,” said Zamora.
Doctors at Sunrise Hospital were able to revive him, but his brain never recovered.
“I just wanted him to be at peace for once ya know,” Zamora expressed.
Cameron drifted away but not before he gave one last gift, his organs.
“It was definitely one of the hardest decisions that I had to make,” she said.
In those final days, the Nevada Donor Network was by their side… staff organizing a hero’s walk as he headed into surgery — and encouraging them to write a letter about their little boy.
“They read that speech while he’s having surgery .. to the people that are in the operating room,” said his mother.
At the same time — but hundreds of miles away — Lacy Roberts was in her own life and death struggle.
“Rushed to the hospital .. Told my mom, kiss her goodbye.. Don’t know if she’ll make it to the hospital,” said Roberts.
The type one diabetic had suddenly gone into organ failure.
“My kidneys had then started to go. They were at 35%,” said Roberts.
Dialysis four hours a day six days a week was keeping her alive.
“That’s just something that happens with diabetes if it’s not well managed you lose eyesight fingers .. Lose organs,” she said.
Roberts got the call she was a match… And rushed to Loma Linda University — to receive Cameron’s pancreas and kidney.
“Somebody gave me part of someone that they loved, and because of that I get a 2nd chance at life,” said Roberts.
Within weeks — Roberts was writing her own letter — pouring her heart out to the donor’s family.
“The minute I read lacy’s letter I knew that I wanted to talk to her,” said Zamora.
Months of phone calls — led to this moment.
When the families meet for the first time they embrace.
“If I could prevent one mom from feeling what I was feeling at that moment, I would do it 100 times over,” said Zamora.
Cameron was able to donate five organs saving the lives of three people.
His mother wants to encourage other parents and even adults to consider becoming a donor.
She says because even in the darkest moment, you can still choose light and life for someone else.