PLACENTIA (CBSLA.com) — A 23-year-old Westminster woman who died after being beaten outside a Santa Ana nightclub earlier this year has saved the lives of countless others because of her desire to be an organ donor.
Kim Pham was violently attacked outside The Crosby on Jan. 18. Days later, she died of complications from blunt force trauma to the head.
“After two doctors announced that she was dead, we didn’t want to let go,” Pham’s sister, Katie Nguyen, said.
When tests confirmed there was no brain activity, however, the Pham family began preparing. Not for a funeral, but to ensure that Pham’s last wish was executed.
“I remember being by her bedside at the hospital that day. I asked God for a miracle. For her to wake up, you know? That didn’t happen, but I feel like God gave me an even greater miracle to save so much life,” Nguyen said.
Pham’s father, James, said his youngest daughter never talked to him about her desire to donate her organs.
“When I knew it, it made me feel better. Before that, I was very, very sad,” he said.
Five Southern Californians, three females and two males, are alive because of what Pham donated, which included her lung, her kidney, her heart and her pancreas.
At least 50 others will benefit from Pham’s tissue donation.
To celebrate Pham’s gifts, the family has formed a team of nearly 90-strong to walk together in the annual Donate Life event Saturday at Cal State Fullerton.
Following in her sister’s footsteps, Nguyen has now registered to be an organ donor.
While James Pham admits many like him are fearful about donating, he will become a donor, too.
“I remember the day that they actually pulled her bed down to the operation room, like when everything was done and over, we were leaving the hospital. I felt this sense of lightness and peace inside. I feel like I can finally take the burden off my shoulder,” Nguyen said.