‘Guardian angel’: Family of 3-year-old crash victim hopes his organs save lives

CROUSE, N.C. — A Lincoln County family is facing an unimaginable loss when their 3-year-old son died days after a crash.

>> The family is raising money for medical expenses with two GoFundMes. Click here or here to donate.

The little boy’s mother now holds a special device that has a recording of her son’s heartbeat. She’s hoping his heart will save another child’s life.

Parker Vasquez’s parents plan to donate his organs, and doctors at Levine Children’s Hospital are preparing for the surgery.

Parker is still in a hospital room. Though he died after the crash, doctors have to keep his heart pumping until it is donated to another child. He is just a few doors away from the room where he stayed just after his premature birth three years ago.

Parker’s mother and father want everyone to know his life will become his legacy. He had an infectious smile and a spirit larger than life.

“He loved to share and he would love to share this,” said his mother, Angie Vasquez.

His organs will save or improve the lives of as many as 80 people.

Until Sunday, Parker gave his all to his family. His father Philip remembers his last words to him, which he said before Parker, his siblings and mother left their home in Crouse to get ice cream.

“‘You are good to go, buddy. Be safe. You all have fun,’” his father had said.

Then, a car T-boned their van along Highway 274 north of Cherryville. The youngest child took the hardest hit.

Parker’s 13-year-old brother dropped to his knees.

“He was praying to God, ‘please don’t take my brother,’” Angie Vasquez said.

For days, Parker lived with the help of machines, but he never recovered. On Thursday morning, his family learned he couldn’t survive on his own and he was pronounced dead.

“Parker is our guardian angel now,” Angie Vasquez said.

Their guardian angel can give more than happy memories.

“The doctor said he’s got a strong heart. He’s got strong lungs. He’s got strong kidneys,” she said.

His family will donate those organs to children who can recover. Even his skin can help burn victims.

“It’s his last little gift that he gets to give,” Angie Vasquez said.

She said all they want when the heart is donated is to be able to hear it working again.

“I want a stethoscope and I want to hear it in who ever gets his heart,” she said.

“For us to heal, to able to hear that heartbeat,” Philip Vasquez said.

On Friday, staff will move Parker in what’s called an honor walk. His family will watch him get wheeled to an operating room. He has suffered head trauma, so he will be wearing a Spider-Man mask to cover his face during the walk.

To learn about becoming a donor, click here.

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