Baby Kashton of Northvale passed away surrounded by his loving family on Thursday, April 18. He was six months old.
Although Kash's parents Melissa Messina and Joey Rodriguez are heartbroken, they are honored that his heart, liver and kidneys will answer the prayers of other parents.
"His little body couldn’t fight hard enough to come back to us, but fought hard and long enough to qualify as an organ donor and give the gift of life," said Messina. "He's a miracle."
Visitation will be Saturday, April 27 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Pizzi Funeral Home in Paris Avenue in Northvale.
Kash was found Saturday morning non-responsive, seizing and cyanotic by his parents. Doctors found he had suffered multiple strokes and a brain stem herniation.
He spent six days in the hospital, where he received a visit from the Easter bunny.
Messina will cherish her final moments with her son in the hospital, fulfilling her duties as a mom until the very end.
"They let me wash and bathe him, dress him in his favorite pajamas, hold him, rock him, kiss him and love him one last time," she said. "Something I haven’t been able to do for days."
More than $14,500 had been raised for baby Kashton on a GoFundMe as of Friday morning. The support from the community -- particularly the Facebook group "Mommy Daycare" of which Messina is a beloved admin -- has made the difference in these trying days, she said.
"No words and prayers are left unheard and although we may not be able to thank each and every person individually," said Messina, "we are eternally grateful for you all.
"It may have been too late for us, but knowing that my little boy gave three other people the power and ability to continue to live here on this earth gives me chills.
"While we’re here in tears mourning the loss of our boy, another family is celebrating and anxiously awaiting the arrival of his life saving gifts that are currently being flown right to the recipients and will be transplanted tonight on arrival.
"You will always be my hero."
Kashton is survived by his parents, Melissa Messina and Jay Rodriguez, along with his older brother and best friend, Roman, 3.
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