New Jersey boy who died in April donated organs to save other children’s lives

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by Gary Mignone

LITTLE EGG HARBOR, NJ – Jessica and Jonathan Young of Little Egg Harbor have been coping with unimaginable pain since their 9-month-old son Damien tragically passed away on April 30, 2020. Their personal strength has been stretched to the limits as they continue to provide loving care and support to their seven children.

“The pain of losing a child is something that no parent should ever have to feel,” said Jessica. “However, we are fortunate to be surrounded by family and loved ones who are always here to love and support us. We are also blessed to have connected with Family Services Coordinator Sara Patterson and the caring group at NJ Sharing Network.”

Jessica and Jonathan, are grateful that they made the decision to donate Damien’s organs and tissue for transplant. Damien’s heart helped save the life of a 9-month-old girl and his liver saved a 1-year-old boy. However, Jessica recalls that it was not an easy decision to make during a traumatic time.

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“It was very difficult to hear that Damien was not going to come back to us,” said Jessica. “Sara and the staff at Hackensack Meridian Health Jersey Shore University Medical Center comforted me and provided the best possible support. They helped us understand that Damien was special and had a universal blood type that could help save just about anyone who needed an organ transplant. That is when we decided Damien would become an organ donor.”

The NJ Sharing Network flag was raised at Jersey Shore University Medical Center as a fitting tribute to Damien. During a time when many people were scared to be around hospitals, Damien’s family and friends showed up, stayed safe and gave honor to their hero. They held his pictures and toys and made shirts in his favorite color – red. They even live streamed the ceremony for those who were unable to attend.

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“The flag raising was a beautiful experience that we got to share with our family and friends, and with NJ Sharing Network who stood by us every step of the way,” said Jessica.

Jessica is grateful that Sara and other NJ Sharing Network team members continue to provide much-needed support. “It has been many months since we lost our little boy and NJ Sharing Network still keeps in close touch. They have become a huge part of our family,” said Jessica.

About NJ Sharing Network
NJ Sharing Network is the federally designated non-profit organization responsible for recovering organs and tissue for the nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents currently waiting for a life-saving transplant. With headquarters in New Providence, NJ, the organization is part of the national recovery system, serving the 110,000 people on the national waiting list. NJ Sharing Network was selected by NJBiz as one of the state’s “Best Places to Work” for the third consecutive year. To learn more, get involved and register as an organ and tissue donor, visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org.

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