When pregnant mum Keri Young shared a typical ultrasound image on Instagram late last year of the child growing inside her, the caption that followed was far from the usual.
Rather than visions of a bouncing baby girl on the way, Keri, from Oklahoma, would only have a few hours with her precious bundle before handing her over for her organs to be donated. She wrote:
"This is our daughter's perfect heart. She has perfect feet and perfect hands. She has perfect kidneys, perfect lungs and a perfect liver. Sadly, she doesn't have a perfect brain. We found out recently she has anencephaly and is terminal. Faced with terrible options we have decided to continue the pregnancy to full term so Eva, which literally means life, can grow strong and give life to multiple people through organ donation. This was not an easy decision. For the next 20 weeks I will feel her kick, have the hiccups and we'll be able to hear her perfect heart beating all while knowing we'll only get a few short hours with her when she's born."
Heartbreaking to say the least, the gravity of the situation was not lost on Keri's husband Royce. Two months after the shocking revelation, the ESPN sports writer was reminded of the sacrifice his wife had resolved to carry out after meeting "this awesome kid name Jarrius" who was waiting on a liver transplant. And so, like all good writers, he decided to put pen to paper, so to speak.
"The other night, before I left for New Orleans, I was watching my beautiful wife sleep peacefully on the couch," he wrote.
"I looked at her laying there, her belly big with our daughter kicking away, a daughter that won't live more than a few days, and it just overwhelmed me of how incredible this woman is. I thought back to the moment where we found out Eva wasn't perfect, and how literally 30 seconds after our doctor told us our baby doesn't have a brain, somehow through full body ugly crying, Keri looked up and asked, 'If I carry her full term, can we donate her organs?' I remember our doctor putting her hand on Keri's shoulder and saying, 'Oh honey, that's so brave of you to say'. Like, how nice of you, but come on. Keri meant it."
Needless to say, his wife's almost immediate reaction wasn't what Royce expected:
"There I was, crestfallen and heartbroken, but I momentarily got lifted out of the moment and just stood in awe of her. I was a spectator to my own life, watching a superhero find her superpowers. I've had a lot of moments stop me in my tracks where I thought, 'holy crap, this woman I'm married to, lucky me'. But this one was different. It hit me that not only am I married to my very best friend, but to a truly remarkable, special human being."
A post brimming with compassion and empathy for the arduous task at hand, Royce is well aware that "the light at the end of her nine-month tunnel will turn into a darkness she's never felt before".
After bringing Eva into the world, Royce explains that Keri will still be left with the toughest of post-birth challenges but "with no snugly, soft, beautiful newborn to look at to remind you that it was all worth it."