HALEDON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A family in New Jersey is hoping to turn the sudden death of their son into the gift of life for many others.
Caleb Van De Voort suffered a fatal asthma attack over the weekend, reports CBS2’s Cindy Hsu.
He was declared brain dead on Monday at 8 years old.
His father Justin Van De Voort says his laugh was infectious.
“He started laughing and you just couldn’t help but laugh,” he said. “He had a smile that could light up a stadium.”
Caleb was taken to St. Joseph’s University Medical Center. His family has chosen to donate his organs which could help save up to eight people.
Justin says he knows his son is happy with the decision. Three years ago, Caleb’s grandfather – who he called “Pop Pop” – needed a kidney transplant. Caleb overheard the family talking about it.
“He comes running in and he goes, ‘Would you think Pop Pop would accept my kidneys if he won’t take your kidneys?’” said Justin. “I said, ‘Buddy, do you even know what that means?’ He goes ‘No, but I want to do it.'”
Caleb had a really big heart. He was a second grader at Haledon Public School and his teachers and classmates signed a special flag for him from the Sharing Network, which saves lives through organ and tissue donation.
Everyone knew he loved Spider-Man.
“An amazing imagination, running around doing ‘thwip, thwip, thwip,’ doing the ‘thwips’ of Spider-Man.’”
Caleb will be buried with the things he loved, including his favorite Spider-Man sweatshirt and a sword from his favorite video game.
“In true King Arthur style, he’s going to be resting in his casket you know holding it,” said Justin. “You know I know he’d want that. If he were there, he’d think that was the coolest thing.”
Justin is calling his son’s organs his super powers and says Caleb would love knowing those powers will be saving lives.
How To Help The Family
Register For Donations
Looking to help pass along the give of life? Register your intentions via these websites:
- New York: New York State Donate Life Registry Enrollment Form
- New Jersey: Donate Life Registry
- Connecticut: Donate Life New England
Donation and Transplantation Organizations
OrganDonor.gov, the U.S. Government Information on Organ Donation and Transplantation website, lists dozens of links to get more information about specific types of medical donations.
- American Board of Transplant Coordinators
- American Foundation for Donation and Transplantation
- American Society of Nephrology
- American Society of Transplant Surgeons
- American Society of Transplantation
- Association of Multicultural Affairs in Transplantation
- Association of Organ Procurement Organizations
- Chris Klug Foundation
- Donate Life America
- Donate Life Hollywood
- International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation
- James Redford Institute for Transplant Awareness
- National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program
- National Donor Family Council
- North American Transplant Coordinator’s Organization
- Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network
- Organ Donation and Transplantation Alliance
- Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients
- Transplant Recipients International Organization, Inc.
- United Network for Organ Sharing
- American Association of Tissue Banks
- Blood and Marrow Transplant Information Network
- Eye Bank Association of America
- Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation
- National Marrow Donor Program
- National Bone Marrow Transplant Link
- Tissue Banks International
Related Health Organizations
- American Diabetes Association
- American Heart Association
- American Kidney Fund
- American Liver Foundation
- American Lung Association
- American Medical Association
- Chronic Disease Research Group of the Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation
- Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International
- National Kidney Foundation
- National Medical Association