Cedar Falls toddler dies after routine tonsillectomy, donates or - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Falls toddler dies after routine tonsillectomy, donates organs

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

An eastern Iowa family is celebrating life, even after their son suddenly died from a routine surgery. 

Their two-year-old son died after having his tonsils removed. Thanks to organ donation, he's helped several people live.

"He spent his entire life defying all odds," said Jenelle Shamrell. 

From day one, Caleb Shamrell of Cedar Falls has been described by his family as a superhero. He was born five-and-a-half weeks early, but was growing into a healthy two-, almost three-year-old.

"He was very respectful and caring and loving. But if he wanted to try something, keeping with the big kids, he was going to go for it," said Shamrell.

As his third birthday approached, his loud snoring and decreased speech made his parents consult a doctor.

"Nobody signs paper work and takes their child to the hospital for a tonsillectomy expecting them to die," said Jenelle Shamrell.

The Shamrells went home shortly after Caleb's surgery. As he began to fall asleep, he started to throw up.

"He started throwing up blood, and that's when we know that he had been bleeding for a very long time," said Shamrell. 

Doctors weren't able to save Caleb. But this little superhero wasn't done yet.

"We knew that if he wasn't going to live that there had to be some meaning and purpose to everything that happened," said Shamrell. 

On the day that would have been his third birthday, Caleb went to the OR to donate his organs.

"We talked, and we thought it was very fitting for him to give gifts on his birthday," said Shamrell. 

Caleb's family set up the Caleb Shamrell "Alive In Me" foundation in an effort to raise awareness of organ donation.

If you would like more information: https://www.facebook.com/aliveinmefoundation

If you would like to be a donor, make sure it's indicated on your drivers license, but it's also important to have that conversation with your family.

According to the Iowa Donor Network, currently in Iowa there are 594 people on the wait list for a transplant.

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