BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - The family of a 3-year-old Buffalo boy made a brave decision after he was tragically killed in a fire at his east side home. Malachi Watkins' organs will be donated and potentially save up to five other children.
Malachi and his mother, 23-year-old Laqueisha Watkins, were killed in the fire.
His grandmother, Prophetess Cherise Shabazz said, "The family is really trying hard to work together, and you know just pull through this, because who would expect this?"
A growing memorial now sits outside the home where the boy and his mother were killed last Friday. Malachi's kidneys and intestines have been donated through UNYTS, a service that matches donors and recipients. His family says it's a way his life can go on through others.
UNYTS Vice President of Organ Services Kevin Gramlich said, "People generally feel more willing to give organs of their children because they want that legacy to live on."
But across the country, nearly 120,000 people are in need of an organ transplant right now. Around 2,000 of those in need are children.
"Pediatric organs can go into adults but adult organs can't go to pediatric recipients," Gramlich explained.
Of the 5,000 organ donations each year, only 300 come from children, meaning there's a very long wait time for a child in need of a transplant.
Gramlich said, "It's truly a miracle for any family in a moment of distress to start thinking about others and how they can help them."
But it's something Malachi's family didn't hesitate in doing, saying the little boy was always the first to take care of others, like his younger brother, when he was alive. Now, though he is gone, he will go on helping others for years to come.
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