Be in­spired!

Woman's World - - Contents - —Di­ane Ni­chols

“Da’quan is our hero…i feel him look­ing down on us and on these kids and I know he’s so happy!”

Af­ter Inica Ni­chols lost her beloved 14-year- old son, Da’quan, in a tragic car ac­ci­dent, the un­bear­able heartache of know­ing he was gone from this world al­most de­stroyed her. But at her low­est mo­ment, Inica, with the help of her daugh­ter and youngest son, made a cru­cial de­ci­sion that helped pre­serve his lov­ing me­mory— and saved the lives of four other chil­dren!

Feel­ing her heart shat­ter into a mil­lion pieces, Inica Ni­chols shook her head in con­fu­sion as the doc­tor asked her the ques­tion again.

“Do you want to do­nate your son’s or­gans?” he said gen­tly, em­pa­thy in his eyes.

The words seemed sur­real as Inica stood in the Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal of Wis­con­sin on No­vem­ber 21, 2015, try­ing to process that she had just lost her pre­cious 14-year-old son, Da’quan, in a car ac­ci­dent.

Thanks­giv­ing is just days away…and Da’quan won’t be there, Inica thought as sear­ing grief coursed through her. And sud­denly she re­al­ized her beau­ti­ful, lov­ing boy who had adored foot­ball and bas­ket­ball, ex­celled in school and had a huge, car­ing heart, wouldn’t be there with her ever again.

In a haze of shock, Inica slowly turned her at­ten­tion back to the doc­tor’s re­quest. She’d never thought about or­gan do­na­tion be­fore, yet the clock was tick­ing as the hospi­tal staff ex­plained there was only a small win­dow of time for trans­plants.

Over­whelmed with emo­tion, Inica turned to her then 6-year-old son, J’vaun, and 12-yearold daugh­ter, Ijah.

“I just don’t know what to do,” Inica softly wept.

It was then that her chil­dren ral­lied around her with hugs and a life-chang­ing an­swer.

“If Da’quan’s go­ing to help other kids, then he would be a hero,” J’vaun said, as his sis­ter nod­ded.

In that mo­ment, Inica’s crip­pling sor­row shifted. If my pre­cious boy could save at least one life, then his legacy of love would live on, her heart whis­pered. Turn­ing to the doc­tor, Inica wiped tears from her eyes. “Okay,” she choked. “We will do­nate.”

Bless­ings abound

Inica’s de­ci­sion brought mir­a­cles never be­fore seen at that hospi­tal. Da’quan’s or­gans were a match for five chil­dren who had waited a col­lec­tive 544 days on the trans­plant lists. Over the next crit­i­cal 24-hour pe­riod, trans­plant teams com­pleted one heart, two liver and two kid­ney trans­plants. All the trans­plants were a suc­cess, but the boy who re­ceived Da’quan’s heart sadly passed away due to com­pli­ca­tions two weeks later.

Although Inica’s de­ci­sion to do­nate felt true to what Da’quan would have wanted, in the com­ing months, her loss cut deeper than any­thing she’d ever ex­pe­ri­enced. But when the pain got so over­whelm­ing that Inica felt she couldn’t en­dure it, she’d think of the four chil­dren saved by Da’quan’s gift, and a ray of hope would shine through the dark­ness. I’ d love to just hug them all one day, she wished. And then…that day mirac­u­lously came.

For­ever a hero

On No­vem­ber 21, 2017, two years to the day of Da’quan’s pass­ing, the hospi­tal hosted a Thanks­giv­ing feast for Inica to meet the four re­cip­i­ents and their fam­i­lies. Fi­nally, Inica was able to look into the grate­ful eyes of the other par­ents, feel their warm hugs and see the smil­ing faces of the four chil­dren who were now flour­ish­ing.

They shared tears, words of love and hugs that healed Inica’s deep­est hurts as noth­ing had been able to do be­fore.

In re­turn, the par­ents, who ached for Inica’s loss, found clo­sure in get­ting to thank her for the amaz­ing gift she’d given them. Kerri Evensen’s son, Au­den, was only 4 when he re­ceived his life­sav­ing liver trans­plant. “In such a crush­ing mo­ment, this fam­ily’s self­less act com­pletely changed our fam­ily’s fu­ture,” Kerri shares. “Da’quan will con­tinue to live on through Au­den, and Inica will al­ways be our Earth an­gel.”

Alis­cia Parr, whose son, Em­mitt, re­ceived a new kid­ney, agrees whole­heart­edly. “We never want Da’quan to be for­got­ten,” she says. “He will for­ever be in our hearts.”

And Jean Ny­lund’s 18-month-old daugh­ter, Sara, bat­tled liver can­cer un­til the trans­plant saved her life. “We thank God for Inica’s coura­geous choice ev­ery day,” Jean smiles. “I’ll honor her son’s gift by mak­ing sure Sara is happy, healthy and loved.”

As for Inica, the spirit of Thanks­giv­ing was made all the more spe­cial by the strong sense that Da’quan was watch­ing over the fes­tiv­i­ties that day.

“We miss him so much, but Da’quan is our hero,” Inica smiles through tears. “I feel him look­ing down on us and on these kids who got a sec­ond chance at life. He’s say­ing, ‘Good job, Mom!’ I just know in my heart that he’s so happy!”

“It brings our fam­ily peace and com­fort to know that Da’quan’s gift of life had such an amaz­ing out­come,” says Inica ( cen­ter) with her daugh­ter Ijah ( left), youngest son J’vaun ( be­hind Inica’s arm) and Da’quan’s best friend, Ca­priest ( right)

Last year, on the 2-year an­niver­sary of Da’quan’s pass­ing, Inica and her fam­ily met the grate­ful par­ents and re­cip­i­ents for a Thanks­giv­ing feast

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.