CAMBRIDGE (CBS) — “She always did everything perfect.” That is how Karla and Mario Vuksan describe their 12-year-old daughter Marla. A spunky, loveable girl who had wisdom beyond her years.
Marla’s life ended suddenly a week before Thanksgiving but her legacy continues.
“The one and only Marla Vuksan. She would sign her studies like that. The one and only Marla Vuksan,” said Karla and Mario.
The fatal accident occurred in Cancun. Marla fell off a hammock and was rushed to the doctor. Her parents say the bump to her head did not seem serious until Marla began to rapidly decline.
“Within 15 minutes we effectively lost her,” Mario said.
The family agonized over what to do. Then they say Marla sent her mother a sign at her hospital bedside. “I went to sleep for like 15 minutes in the middle of the night and when I wake up, the first thing I think is the donation of the organs,” Karla said.
Even as her brain function declined, Marla’s body remained strong. Karla and Mario consulted with their sons who agreed organ donation is what Marla would have wanted.
The family advocated for Marla’s transport to Boston Children’s Hospital where, on Thanksgiving Day, Marla donated seven organs to six different people.
“The magic of Thanksgiving. It was just so Marla,” her mother said.
Now, Marla’s gift is helping her family cope in the midst of a year that has been full of suffering.
“That’s her legacy. And this is why this is really helping us to move forward, it’s helping our boys to move forward, knowing that their sister is a hero,” Mario said.