HENDERSON (KYTX) - Five years ago, doctors gave Bentley Brands a 1 percent chance of surviving the following six months. Sunday, about 100 East Texans joined him at the Henderson Civic Center to celebrate his survival.
His parents say it wouldn't have been possible without the gift of organ donation.
Bentley needed one thing to make this celebration of life a real party.
"My family and all that. It's fun. We get to hang out and stuff," he said.
It was a simple request for a kid his mom says overcame difficult odds.
"We've got so many people here who have lost loved ones or are celebrating life with us," says mom Danielle Brands.
Sunday wasn't a guarantee for the Brands family. At about a year old, doctors diagnosed Bentley with short gut syndrome. Most people are born with more than 100 centimeters of intestines, but Bentley had 10 centimeters of intestines, making it difficult for him to absorb nutrients. But on Jan. 15, 2009, he received an organ donation from a donor who the Brands never met.
"It's definitely a blessing that he can eat, drink on his own by himself and not have to have therapy," Danielle Brands says.
So, Bentley's parents wanted to celebrate their son's survival, and spread the message of organ donation.
The U.S. Health and Human Services department says that 18 people die each day waiting for a organ transplant, but one organ donor can save as many as eight lives like Bentley Brands. That's why Chris and Danielle Brands wanted to have this celebration of life be also about the celebration of those donors.
"We want to express how important it is to donate, to be a donor," Chris Brands says. "People are in need of transplants."
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 121,000 Americans are on waiting lists for an organ transplant.
To learn more about organ donation go to www.organdonor.gov.