REXBURG, ID — For as long as there have been trees, happy, carefree kids have climbed them. A 9-year-old Idaho girl’s death from a freak accident will help other kids climb trees and live full, fun lives through what her mother can only describe as divinely inspired foresight.
Shaylyn Bergeson, who tumbled from a tree Monday and fell on a piece of rebar that punctured the left side of her brain, told her mother as a healthy and happy child two months ago that she wanted to be an organ donor.
Surgeons gave Shaylyn a 50/50 chance of surviving the emergency surgery to remove half of her skull. It became clear to her parents, Kurt and Jesi Bergeson, their little girl wasn’t going to make it, so a transplant team was assembled. Shaylyn died Thursday night, surrounded by the people who loved her most.
Her parents are devastated at their loss, but “overjoyed” her life will continue through the organ donor program.
“Our baby was able to save four lives and someone’s vision,” they wrote in a statement posted on a GoFundMe campaign set up Tuesday to help the family cover expenses.
“The transplant team was able to retrieve her liver, kidneys, heart valves and corneas,” her mother wrote on the campaign website. “We again are overwhelmed with how blessed we truly are and although we are completely devastated, we are also so proud and overjoyed for those five individuals who are getting a phone call with the answer to a prayer they have been desperately asking for is now possible.”
A couple of months ago, Jesi Bergeson had a conversation about organ donations with Shaylyn and her 11-year-old brother, Tristan.
“She without a blink of an eye said she wanted to donate everything she could. Our angel has just always been the sweetest, kindest, and most selfless li’l girl her entire life,” her mother wrote.
When she died two months later, her mother makes sense of it this way: “God placed the desire for us to have that organ conversation on my heart for a reason,” she wrote on GoFundMe.
She credited the medical team at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City for their gentle care of Shaylyn and making sure she was “respected, honored and comfortable as we allow her body to pass and continue to give [life] to another li’l kiddo.”
Now, Shaylyn’s mother and father are preparing “to do the one thing no parent should ever have to do, bury a baby,” Jesi Bergeson wrote.
The Bergesons lost another child in 2016. Shaylyn’s older sister, Briauna, died when she was 10, the East Idaho News reported.
Briauna had a rare chromosome abnormality, and was in hospice care for three years before she died.
“We are not doing good right now,” Jesi Bergeson told the newspaper as her daughter clung to life earlier this week, adding “the thought of losing another baby is tearing us up.”
Donations for the family can be made on GoFundMe, a Patch promotional partner/