NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— Some would call this a Christmas miracle. One woman literally gave the greatest gift—the gift of herself to save a young baby’s life. WGNO’s Kenny Lopez shares this heartwarming story of giving.
“That’s your angel, that’s your angel right there,” Alexis Crews, Mother of Malayah Nelson said.
You’ll never know when you’ll need an “earth angel” and Stephanie Payton is exactly that divine intervention little 1-year old, Malayah Nelson needed.
“Her belly was extended and her liver wasn’t working,” Crews said.
Malayah needed a liver transplant.
“The donor and recipient have to be a compatible blood type,” Dr. David Bruce at Ochsner Medical Center said.
Dr. Bruce went on to say, “The greatest challenge we face is there simply isn’t enough organs to go around.”
Stephanie said, “It felt like a divine inspiration to look up and see if it was possible to donate a liver, so I called Ochsner to see if I could come in, test it, and see if they could do it.”
But that wasn’t her first organ donation. Stephanie had already donated a kidney through a kidney swap program after she tried to give her kidney to a friend in need.
“My kidney went somewhere in Texas and my friend got his kidney,” she said.
Her giving heart is what lead her to donate again. This time about 25 percent of her liver for Malayah.
“We are thankful to her because she wasn’t on the list for very long,” Malayah’s mother said.
“It gives me much joy as it gives them, I promise. Makes me feel purposeful, very glad to be a part of this,” Payton said.
Stephanie says her gesture of giving was just her way of paying it forward.
“I hope she has big dreams and I hope she’s able to carry on. I came into this world with a full blown blood transfusion, so by someone else’s grace I was able to be here too,” Payton said.
“You can’t imagine being a father and having to go through what she had to go through,” Aaron Nelson, Malayah’s father said.
Stephanie’s friends and family jokingly tease her about the “gifts” she gives.
“I told my brother that I’m just trying to buy my way into heaven,” she said.
She’s simply just humbly proving, heaven is a place on earth.
Doctors at Ochsner say Stephanie’s liver will grow back, and Malayah will have normal liver function throughout her life.