3-year-old who drowned on birthday becomes Philippines' youngest organ donor

Rowegie Abanto, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 23 2022 07:00 PM

Photos courtesy of Jennae Carpio
Photos courtesy of Jennae Carpio

MANILA — A 3-year-old boy who drowned while celebrating his third birthday with his twin at a resort in the Philippines has become the country's youngest organ donor.

A day after Ezra Jacob Rosario's passing, his mother Jennae Carpio made sure that her son "will live on through others." 

"With the support of our families, we decided to donate viable organs left in his body," she said in a Nov. 12 Facebook post where she announced her son's death, a day after he was pronounced brain dead for the second time.

The National Kidney and Transplant Institute's organ retrieval arm, NKTI-HOPE, confirmed that Ezra is the youngest donor it has had "since this program started."

"Three years of life passed on to others. Short but well-lived," it said.

Ezra's kidneys were both transplanted in a 24-year-old recipient, the NKTI - HOPE said. 

On Wednesday, Jennae said she was informed that his corneas were "distributed successfully" to 2 recipients aged 22 and 3.

They are now recovering from the procedure, she said. 

Jennae said organ donation is the legacy they could give Ezra, "so he lives on in the lives of others through sacrifice and the gift of generosity."

"He is the youngest organ donor in the Philippines and the first pedia organ donor at St. Luke’s Medical Center," she said. 

"What an honor to have a hero for a son."

Jennae said her family would bring Ezra's remains to Vigan, Ilocos Sur for his cremation on Friday, Nov. 18, and would bring his remains back to the US "in the near future."

"We don’t know what happens from now on, and how we will be able to live on without Ezra physically by our side. All we know is that we can direct all our love to his twin Elijah and focus on his well-being — he will definitely need us through this difficult time," she said.