Most young boys at age 11 are dreaming of video games, computers and riding their bikes after school. They tend to be very active and live in a reality where nothing can stop them. Liang Yaoyi was one of these healthy and carefree young boys until he started to have some odd physical symptoms. After pain and numbness in his head, his mother took him to see a doctor. The doctor delivered earth shattering news; he had cancer, and was eventually going to die. His last request however, shook doctors to their very core.
Yaoyi not only had an aggressive form of cancer, but there was no cure for the fast moving tumors. His brain was being overcome with tumors, and he was no longer that carefree child. Before the diagnosis, Yaoyi wanted to become a doctor. He was fascinated by medicine and wanted to make a difference in the world. He would get his chance to do this due to one stunning and brave actions by the young boy; he asked to donate his organs upon his death. This bold move set off a chain of events that not only allowed the boy to save lives but also left the doctors treating him speechless.
As Yaoyi received treatment for the brain cancer, he asked for information about the medical side of organ donation. Even though the conversation may have been uncomfortable for those around him, he was persistent. The young boy pulled his mother aside and told her:
“There are so many great people in this world. I want to do something for them. I want to donate my healthy organs to those who need them! ”
While organ donation has become some what common in many parts of the world, having a child this young decide he was not only wanting to do this but also extremely passionate about making a difference is rare. His desire touched many of the doctors around him, and they wanted to honor the special boy.
As the boy’s body started to shut down, the family and doctors rallied around him to reassure him that his last wish would come to pass. Even though he was not able to live his dream as a physician, his drive to donate his organs did save lives.
Many doctors get almost used to seeing patients die around them, but this case made a different type of impact on the medical team that was charged with treating Yaoyi. He was not just another terminal cancer case; he was a little boy with a big dream to make a difference.
When Yaoyi passed away, the team set out to honor the special boy and the gift he was making. In the moments after his death, Yaoyi was wheeled down the hallway to be given the ultimate tribute. All of the doctors and nurses stopped for a moment to bow their heads in tribute. All of the hustle and bustle of the hospital stopped for that time to honor the boy before his organs went to save other lives.
Saving lives via organ donation is often a hard thing for families to talk about as they are faced with a death of a loved one. This talk can be even more challenging for the parents of a child that is dying. The bravery of Yaoyi to want to make sure he was able to donate his organs brings to mind a similar request of a 14-year old Triston Green. As a child, Green asked to have his desire to donate his organs be marked on his learner’s permit. Sadly, a few years after this he was killed in an accident.
Because as a child Green had asked to become an organ donor, there was no question that his organs needed to help others. His action, just as the action of Yaoyi, saved several lives. It also allowed Green to live in others as his mother later met the young man that got his heart.
While there was no immediate information about where Yaoyi’s organs went, the doctors did share that his kidneys and liver went to several people who would not have lived without them. In his special way, the small boy did make a difference. He saved several lives and changed the lives of each of the doctors that were a part of his team.