More than a year has passed since Emma and Drew Lee lost their newborn daughter to a fatal brain condition, but their baby girl’s legacy lives on.
When Hope died, the Lees decided to donate her organs to help someone else who needed them. Recently, the British family received a grateful letter from a young woman whose life was impacted by Hope’s organ donations, the Daily Mail reports.
A 26-year-old woman who suffered from kidney disease received Hope’s kidneys in November 2015, according to the report. In a letter to the Lees, the young woman expressed her immense gratitude to the family.
The young woman said she had been on dialysis three times a week because of the disease and frequently had to be hospitalized. She said their daughter’s organs gave her a new chance at life.
The young woman wrote:
“I can’t imagine how painful the loss of your loved one must have been and how difficult it must have been to think about, and to make, the decision to donate their organs to offer a second life to a complete stranger. …
“I wanted you to know the difference you have made to my family and me and how much we appreciate your kindness and what must have been a difficult time for you. Your family will always be in my thoughts.
“Best wishes for the future and thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
Drew Lee told the Mirror his family is so happy that Hope’s life helped the young woman.
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“I felt quite tearful reading the letter because it’s very genuine and heartfelt,” he said. “It’s good to know Hope’s organs really made a difference to someone else’s life. Her words justify the difficult decision we made to donate our baby’s kidneys.”
The family made a number of difficult decisions, not the least of which was deciding against abortion. Hope was diagnosed with anencephaly during the 13th week of pregnancy, according to the BBC. Doctors suggested that they abort her because she would die anyway, but the Lees refused.
Instead, the decided to treasure the time they had with their daughter, and to create a legacy for her after she died by donating her organs, the report states.
“It was a very sad time, but our whole family are signed-up for organ donation,” her father told the BBC. “We had time to plan everything we wanted to do and the hospital was able to put into action the transplant of the kidneys, and some liver cells were taken as well.”
Hope lived outside the womb for 74 minutes. Her twin brother, Josh, who was born after her, survives.
“Just before she died she bent her fingers around my finger and I broke down,” her father said. “Seventy four minutes isn’t long, but it has given us a chance for a bit of closure.”