SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – You could say he had a premonition. Just weeks before dying in a fatal accident a brave seven-year-old said he wanted to be an organ donor. And his openness to help others saved a life right here in Salt Lake City.
Seven-year-old Mikey Fetzer and 11-year-old Mia Brickey had no idea how close they would become.
“It was meant to be. This kid was meant to live,” said Mia’s parents Heidi and Tom Brickey.
They were both two healthy kids living full lives. Mikey was a little go-getter from North Dakota.
“He was a giver. A real giver,” said Mikey’s mom Bobbi Fetzer.
Mia was an active, beautiful and creative young lady living in Salt Lake City.
“She was perfect health,” said Heidi.
But, in an instant everything changed.
“She's never been hospitalized. She wasn't sick. There was nothing wrong with her,” said Tom.
Nearly a year to the day Mia fell sick. She was rushed to the hospital for dehydration and severe flu-like symptoms. Just hours later Mia went into full cardiac arrest.
“There had to be 50 people standing in the hallway. Her doors were open. They were performing CPR,” said Tom.
A medical team at Primary Children’s Medical Center performed CPR and shocked Mia’s heart non-stop for 48 minutes. All cardiac surgeons were in operating rooms. Miraculously, a doctor who had just finished an on-call rotation got the emergency phone call and rushed back to Primary’s.
“To watch people save the life of your daughter is pretty amazing,” said Tom.
The doctor performed an emergency bypass that kept Mia alive. The medical team dropped her body into a hypothermic state for 62 hours in hopes of preventing brain damage. The Brickey family prayed.
“But, I begged. I just want to hear her say, ‘Daddy, I love you.’ I just want to take my little girl home,” said Tom.
Mia needed a heart transplant fast. Mia’s heart was barely functioning. Tom describes it has having just a quiver. Beating at a fraction of the strength of a healthy heart.
Patients can only be on temporary bypass for seven days. Mia had four days left before she would need an extensive surgery that doctors were not optimistic about.
“She had all those blood clots in her heart,” said Tom.
Then, one family’s tragedy turned into another’s miracle. Mikey was hit and killed by a car.
"It's very hard to get up in the morning,” said Bobbi.
Mia got a chance to live.
“He said 'We got it! We've got one.' And I said. ‘We've got one what?’” said Tom.
“I called it the perfect storm,” said Heidi.
Two weeks prior to the accident, Mike came home from a school program on organ donation and told his mom he wanted to sign up. While Mia was clinging to life at Primary Children’s, Mikey’s heart was en route to save her life.
“Bobbi says that Mikey picked Mia,” said Heidi.
“It is so wonderful to know that he is still beating in her,” said Bobbi.
Mia will be on anti-rejection drugs for the rest of her life and she will always suffer from a weakened immune system. But, it’s easy to see she’s made extreme progress. She’s back in school and competitive again in her martial arts program.
“She's getting stronger. She takes excellent care of herself,” said Tom.
The Brickeys call Mikey, Mia’s angel. They hope he somehow knows how grateful they are every day for his gift of life.
“He wouldn't want me to be sad. Mikey would want me to be happy. And I am. I am so overjoyed that it's hard not to be emotional about it. And I would just say to Mikey … Thank you,” said Tom.
Kind, beautiful and wise beyond their years, these two hearts now beat as one.