Armando was born on May 23, 2008, at 8 pounds, 6 ounces, to single mother Magali and big sister Akary. "It was a happy day," Magali says. "Since I had a girl, having a boy [meant] my family was complete."
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Two months later, Magali woke up to every parent's worst fear: Her infant son, who had shown no signs of illness, was struggling for breath. "I got to his crib, and he was having a hard time breathing," Magali says. "I started checking on him, and he was really, really cold."
Magali rushed Armando to a nearby hospital. "They took him off my arms, and immediately they started putting oxygen on him. I heard him crying, so I felt like a huge relief in that moment," she says. "And then he stopped."
Armando was airlifted to the Children's of Minnesota for emergency treatment. After five agonizing days in intensive care, doctors told Magali there was no way to save her baby boy.
Although Armando wouldn't survive, doctors told Magali that his heart was still strong and could save another child. They said they knew of a 6-month-old baby girl who was fighting for her life in Chicago. "[I thought,] 'I bet the mom is sitting on a chair next to her daughter, going through almost the same thing I'm going through,'" Magali says. "But the big difference, that her child might have a chance."