Family, Valley Children's staff honor 1-year-old organ donor

Leopauld Sanchez's organs will go to a 6-month-old boy, a 3-month-old girl, and an adult.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- With tears in his eyes and pain in his heart, Lemoore Navy man Paul Sanchez gave his 1-year-old son Leopauld a hero's goodbye.

"I'm proud of you, son," Sanchez said as he kissed his son's forehead.

Sanchez, who's now in a wheelchair, stood to give his baby boy a final salute.

"You're a hero son, you're a hero," he said.

His time may have been short, but little Leopauld leaves a legacy.

His organs are being donated to save the lives of three people.

A six-month-old boy is getting his heart, his liver will go to a three-month-old girl, and his kidneys to an adult.

"Doing that, we know that a part of our son will still live," said Sanchez.

The toddler lost his life from injuries suffered in a devastating Kings County crash.

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It was in November that Sanchez was driving his family of four home.

He was just outside Kettleman City when another driver swerved into his lane, crashing head-on into his minivan.

Everyone was left disoriented from the impact, but Leopauld was unresponsive

People pulled over to help, including a nurse.

"I see it as a miracle when the pediatric nurse showed up out of nowhere in the middle of nowhere," he said.

Leopauld and his 8-year-old brother had to be airlifted to Community Regional Medical Center.

There the two boys and their parents underwent surgery.

The toddler's skull was detached from his spine, he also suffered severe brain injuries.

Sanchez said Leopauld flatlined twice.

A doctor said he wouldn't survive.

"But I told him, we believe in miracles," said Sanchez.

He needed to undergo intensive surgery that most hospitals would not attempt.

Sanchez was told his son's state was so fragile, if he was moved he could die.

Weeks later, Valley Children's Hospital was willing to do the surgery.

"We thank god for that, because we thought it was going to be the end for him," he said.

After the surgery, Leopauld showed signs of improvement.

He finally opened his eyes, but his health started to decline once again.

Doctors ran several tests and determined the toddler was brain dead.

The Sanchez family had no choice but to withdraw life support.

But their little boy's death won't be in vain, his parting gift is that of life.

"He is a miracle to these three individuals that have been asking for miracles," said Sanchez.



Little Leopauld will now live through the recipients.

Sanchez hopes his son's sacrifice will inspire others to become donors.

His family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses as they recover. If you would like to contribute, click here.
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