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17th Mar 2017

Inspiring: the woman carrying a terminally-ill baby… so she can donate her organs

Gillian Fitzpatrick

It must have been an unimaginably distressing moment. Expecting her second child, Keri Young was given nightmarish news: her baby girl would not survive outside the womb.

Alongside her husband, Royce, the young woman learned last December at her 19-week scan that part of their daughter’s brain was missing. It is a condition called anencephaly, which affects just one-in-100,000 pregnancies.

Understandably the Youngs, who have been married for eight years, were horrified. Indeed, as Keri told ABC Newsthe 48 hours that followed that shock diagnosis were “very dark”.

Most couples would be too distressed to even consider continuing with the pregnancy.

“You can be the most pro-life person in the world, but until you sit there and you hear those words, and you look at your future going forward; that’s when you have got to face the reality and make your own decision,” Royce explained.

But now, and through their tragedy, the Youngs (they live in Oklahoma with their toddler son) have found a new focus: that their baby’s organs could eventually save other tiny lives.

Royce continued: “We’ll go to the hospital for a birth, and go home without a baby.”

They have already named their daughter Eva, and Keri is beginning to feel kicks and movements. Doctors have told them their baby could survive “anywhere from five minutes to 36 hours”.

Now coming towards the end of her pregnancy, Keri is desperately nervous. “I’m now terrified of delivery,” Keri said. “I don’t want her to come out.”

“She’s healthy right now, and I love feeling her kick… She’s as perfect as she’s going to be right now. So I don’t want to give that up.”

Still, Ms Young is staying positive: “Now is not the time to be sad. I keep telling people we have a whole lifetime to be sad, after she’s born and after she passes, then that’s sad.

“But now, she’s alive and she’s kicked and… for this pregnancy, that’s the most joyful part.”

Royce shared their incredible story in a Facebook post that later garnered some 57K reactions and over 22K shares.