Three year old Ezra Tapp was a bright and happy child, and his mother, Julia, said he “had the sweetest, biggest heart”.
Julia said Ezra, who had autism, “didn’t have a sense of danger, fear or of right or wrong.” Julia comments that because some autistic children can’t speak people make the assumption they can’t do much. “That couldn’t be further from the truth….they are little escape artists.”
In 2014 Ezra did escape outside after a gate shut to the courtyard wasn’t clicked shut. Within half an hour he had run across two and half paddocks. Police from neighbouring towns were brought in to conduct a search. There was concern Ezra might think it was a game and run even further away. Tragically Ezra drowned in a river not far from his home near Waihi.
Julia says that once the paramedics “made the call” that Ezra could not be saved their focus immediately shifted. “Our minds instantly switched to who we help. We were able to donate Ezra’s heart valves. Ezra donated two heart valves, which will save the lives of other children.”
Following the donation the family had Ezra at home for three days.
Despite the tragedy, the family seek comfort in the news Ezra will save others. “You put yourself in someone else’s shoes. It is difficult, truly difficult losing a family member. One of the toughest days, yet if you can make it better for someone else…. for us, it was just the thing to do.”
“We are still waiting for the day we receive a letter telling us Ezra’s heart valves have been used – that will be the best gift.”
Julia says it has changed the views of her and her husband Jason about organ donation.
Expand to read more