On Tuesday, Naikeeia Williams and Tobias Holmes were forced to make a decision that no parent would ever want to be tasked with making.
They decided to let their baby girl, Takiya Holmes, go.
On Saturday evening, Holmes, 11, was shot in the head while sitting in a car outside of the TailoRite Cleaners in Chicago where her mom worked. Police say she was not the intended target, just the unfortunate victim of a stray bullet.
Holmes never regained consciousness and passed away in her mother’s arms at the University of Chicago Medicine’s Comer Children’s Hospital Tuesday.
But despite having every single reason to be selfish, Takiya’s family did the unthinkable. They saved the lives of eight people by donating her organs to those in need.
Darvese Monson is one of the lucky recipients. Monson, who was diagnosed in May 2015 with Stage 4 renal disease, now has one of Takiya’s kidneys.
“When I got diagnosed, I had already been full blown. No one knew it until then. It wasn’t a waiting period or anything,” she tells EBONY.com. “When I found out, I had to start dialysis immediately.”
But when Takiya’s family made one of the most selfless decisions in the world, Darvese’s entire life changed. She got another chance at life.
See, Darvese is quite lucky. The average organ recipient is on the wait list for a transplant for 3 to 5 years. Nationally, more than 121,650 people are currently waiting for lifesaving transplants. Of this number, 100, 791 await kidney transplants, according to the National Kidney Foundation.
But Monson’s wait was just 21 months.
Takiya was the niece of Monson’s sister. She says the child’s grandmother, Patsy Holmes, spoke with Takiya’s dad about donating her organs.
“I’m still stuck on the fact that during their time of mourning and grief, they had a meeting about me,” said Monson, who founded More Than Your Kidneys, a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness about renal failure. “They made a decision on my life.”
But for Darvece the work is just beginning. Despite an increased chance for a full life, her road to living is still a long one.
“I have to take very expensive immunosuppresive retroactive drugs for the rest of my life so that this kidney does not get rejected by my body. But my life dramatically changed overnight from this tragedy. This is Patsy’s only grandchild, so for her to call my name out and [for the family to] save eight lives total [including mine] I’m just grateful.”