“So-yool was a very cheerful kid. She would say hi to other kids she’s seen for the first time and even greet dogs and trees she met along the way. She wanted her to learn ballet because she loved to watch ballet videos and copy the movements…” said Jeon Ki-seop (age 43), father of So-yool (age 5), who donated her organs to three people after her death, in a telephone interview with The Dong-A Ilbo. The Korean Organ Donation Agency said on Thursday that So-yool passed away at the Seoul National University Hospital donating her heart and both kidneys.
So-yool was like a gift to the family who had infertility issues. She had an accident in the showering facilities in December 2019 at a kids’ indoor play area. She had a cardiac arrest and urgently taken to the hospital. Her heart was restored, but her brain was significantly damaged. Her doctor told the family that 90% of her brain had lost its function and would be difficult to resume everyday activities.
So-yool was scheduled to undergo a surgery on Oct. 22 to connect a nutrition tube but suffered from another cardiac arrest three days before the surgery. She was eventually declared brain dead and passed away.
It was not an easy decision for the parents to let go of their beloved daughter and donate her organs. So-yool’s father made the decision to donate her organs thinking of other sick children. “I met many other sick children during hospital visits. I always felt sad learning of diseases that I hadn’t known before,” the father said. “I thought it would be meaningful if So-yool could save another life.”
Six months before his daughter’s death, the family had to undergo another hardship as So-yoon’s mother, who had been fighting small cell lung cancer for three years, passed away. Despite great sadness, So-yool’s father remained unwavering to his decision.
“The heart of my daughter would be beating in a child’s body if the child stays healthy. It is comforting to think that her life is sustained in a way. I had felt that there was no meaning to life after what happened to my daughter, but the thought makes life meaningful again for me,” he said. “If reincarnation exists, I wish So-yool could be my daughter again. There is so much I haven’t been able to do for her yet.”