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Parents Donate Child's Organs After Accidental Death

Keith Brofsky/Thinkstock(ASHEVILLE, N.C.) -- Skateboarding was one of young Niyale Johnson's beloved hobbies.  That's exactly what the middle-schooler was doing two weeks ago with a couple of friends in her Asheville, N.C., home when her father heard a terrible scream.

Niyale fell through a plate of glass.  She was cut but conscious, and her father took her to the hospital.

Her parents didn't panic, because she seemed fine.  But suddenly, her mother told ABC News affiliate WLOS-TV, things went very wrong.

A piece of glass pierced one of her heart valves and got stuck in her spine.  She never regained consciousness after surgery, and after 11 days, her parents took her off life support and decided to donate their dead daughter's organs.

"You make decisions on what they should eat, and just -- what they should wear, and you go from that to should I donate my child's organs," Niyale's father, Demetrius McGee, told WLOS.

But their daughter loved to help people, and it was in that spirit that Niyale's parents made their decision.

"That's what she would have wanted, because she's a helper.  That's what she always does.  She helped everybody," McGee said.

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, there are more than 110,00 people nationwide waiting for organ transplants who could benefit from the family's generosity.  The American Academy of Pediatrics said in a 2010 study that 2 to 3 percent of those individuals on transplant waiting lists are children younger than 17.

Niyale's parents hope that their tragedy can bring joy to others who need it.

"I just feel like if another child out there can be saved, or adult or anything, that's the best thing that we can possibly do," McGee told WLOS.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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