Toddler’s family donates his organs to save others’ lives

Local News

The family of Elijah and Elyssa Orejuela, the twin toddlers who were pulled from a West Knox County pool on Friday, said Elijah has died. 

The twins were rushed to Children’s Hospital by ambulance. Elyssa passed away Friday. Elijah was placed on life support. He died Sunday afternoon, according to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office and Children’s Hospital. 

Read more: DHS report sheds new light on Knox County daycare 

“After much heartbreak, Elijah has gone to be with his sister Elyssa. They were formed together in my womb and came into this world together,” said their mother, Amelia Wieand, in a statement. “Both kids were extremely strong. She was his other half.”

Wieand said Elijah’s organs were donated to help other families.

“I’ll never understand this, and I’m not sure how to live with this pain,” she wrote. “But to prevent another family from suffering this immeasurable pain, today Elijah became a superhero.”

Wieand expressed gratitude for the support her family has received over the last few days. 

“I can’t thank you enough for the support we have been given knowing that our babies were loved by so many and touched others’ lives,” wrote Wieand. “Thanks again for everyone’s support and prayers.  We would also like to thank the staff at Children’s Hospital for showing so much compassion.”

A Children’s Hospital spokesman said Elijah was pronounced brain dead on Sunday, but cardiac death happened Tuesday when life support was removed. Children’s Hospital reports brain death to local authorities, the medical examiner and other agencies. 

Friends, rallying together to help by creating a GoFundMe to help with hospital bulls, funeral costs, and anything in between. The fund had raised more than $23,000 as of Tuesday afternoon.

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