Family Hopes Loss Of Infant Son Shines Light On Organ Donation

Thursday, October 6th 2011, 7:00 pm
By: News On 6

Dan Bewley, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A former News On 6 sports reporter and current ESPN anchor hopes the tragic death of his infant son shines a spotlight on the need for organ donations for children.

Dari Nowkhah worked at News On 6 from 2002 to 2004. He's now at ESPNU. Last month, his 39-day-old infant son passed away while waiting for a heart transplant.

The 1994 Union High grad worked his way up to become the lead anchor for ESPNU. This summer his life took a tragic turn.

Hayden Michael was born on August 12, 2011. He was completely healthy. Six days later, little Hayden fell victim to a virus.

The virus eventually attacked his heart, he had to be put on life support, and his name was added to the waiting list for a heart transplant.

"He was beautiful, he was sweet, and he was such a good baby, a well behaved baby. He fought through three surgeries that a lot of babies don't fight through," Nowkhah said.

While waiting for his new heart Hayden suffered a stroke that caused massive brain damage. He was taken off the transplant list and Dari and his wife Jenn had to make a terrifying decision to also take him off life support.

"It was hell to make the decision and I'll never forget Tuesday sitting in a hospital bed, in a hospital room with him in our arms. Jenn and I holding him as he took his last breath and his heart, that struggled to beat anyways, beat for the last time and I'll never forget that moment," he said.

Dari and his family have now established Hayden's Hope in memory of their son. They hope others see the need for organ donation for children and are raising money to help support families of children who are on the waiting list.

"Hayden's Hope, we hope, helps others and that's another way to carry Hayden's legacy. We'll never forget Hayden and our hope is that everybody who ever met him or didn't but know his story get to realize what a great baby he was. Those 39 days, we wanted more but we feel lucky that we had that many," he said.

Learn more about Hayden's Hope and donate to the Children's Organ Transplant Association.