Zephy's legacy: Infant lives long enough to become an organ donor

Published: Sep. 30, 2017 at 2:27 AM HST|Updated: Sep. 30, 2017 at 4:27 PM HST
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PEARL CITY, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Doctors expected Zephaniah Keiko Gosin to live just days, maybe weeks at the longest.

The little girl suffered severe brain damage when her umbilical cord became wrapped around her neck and cut off her oxygen supply when she was born in Okinawa on August 20th of last year.

Her mother, Lynsey Gosin of Pearl City, and her husband Fabian, didn't expect her to live long, either.

"As soon as she opened her eyes after three weeks from being born, things changed from there, and our plans became whatever God wanted," said Lynsey.

The two stopped working to care for Zephy 24/7, knowing that any day could be her last.

From the start, the Gosins believed that she would be the perfect organ donor. But they learned that Japan doesn't allow organ transplants involving children younger than six years old.

They also discovered Japan also doesn't allow life support to be disconnected or stopped.

"We couldn't remove anything, legally," said Fabian.

The Gosins returned home to Hawaii with Zephy on September 14. They met with doctors at Kapiolani Medical Center.

"We had explained to them our situation and we brought up the fact that we did want to let our daughter go in a peaceful way and not have to wait for that chaotic, emergency 911 situation," said Lynsey.

On September 20, doctors told Fabian and Lynsey that the day they had expected every day of her life had finally arrived. For the first time since her birth, Zephy was disconnected from all medical equipment.

It was the first time Fabian could hold his daughter without the fear of disconnecting a hose or tube that was keeping her alive.

"The last couple hours of her life, I just got to finally, 100 percent commit ... commitment to my daughter."

The family could finally gather in a bed together, alone in peace and quiet at the hospital. Zephy died peacefully some 90 minutes later.

But part of her lives on.

"Zephy was able to donate her heart in order for both of her heart valves to help one or two children," said Carol Anne Gordon of Legacy of Life Hawaii. "The beautiful thing about that gift is those little heart valves can be preserved for up to nine or ten years, and they will go to help someone -- or someones, sometwos -- exactly her size."

"She's going to save a life," said Lynsey, smiling. "You know, how many one-year-olds can say that?"

Zephy had a short life -- with what her parents say was a beautiful ending.

"It was the sweetest moment I've ever had with my daughter," said Fabian Gosin. "And since it was my daughter, it was the sweetest moment I've ever had in my life. That's the truth."


A celebration of life for Zephaniah Keiko Gosin is scheduled Saturday, Sept. 30, at 4 p.m. at Kualoa Ranch. The Gosins say they received a lot of support during Zephy's life, and all who helped or were touched by her story are invited to attend.

Legacy of Life Hawaii has more information about becoming an organ donor.

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