THOUSAND PALMS, Calif. - 29-year-old Michalina Ward of Thousand Palms is adjusting to life without her husband, and their four children are facing a future without their father.
"There are some days where I really really miss Beau. But, I know Beau would not want me to sit around and mope around, that wasn't him," said Michalina.
Beau Ward passed away early Saturday morning. March 3rd, 2018. at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage.
He died from complications of a urinary tract infection.
His immune system was previously weakened by anti-rejection drugs, which had allowed him to successfully accept a liver transplant performed in December 2013.
"He woke up one morning and was like, 'I don't feel well'. We thought it was the flu, in the middle of the night, and that's when it went really really bad. He woke up and said 'I need to call the ambulance'."
The liver transplant for Ward was actually his second.
The first, in 2012, was rejected.
To get a second chance at a transplant is rare, especially for people with late-onset hepatitis, which Beau contracted as a child before he was adopted by Tom and Bonnie Ward.
"Life is a gift, and it truly was with Beau, from the moment he was born," said Michalina.
Beau's second transplant, a direct donation, was made possible after a tragic incident in Santa Barbara
A drunk driver struck and killed 27-year-old Mallory Rae Dies, a student at U.C.S.B., who had registered as an organ donor prior to her death.
It just so happened Mallory had the same blood type as Beau, they were the same age, and similar in size. They even had similar personalities.
"They were just bubbly people and happy people, and it was just funny how they shared similarities in that same way, a perfect match," said Michalina.
Thanks to the donation from Mallory Dies, Beau lived four more years.
During that time, he and Michalina had two more children.
Mallory, named after Mallory Dies, was born April 2nd, 2016.
Tatum, their fourth child, arrived last December 12th.
"Just out of the blue, I thought Tatum, what a name, and then it means 'brings joy', so I'm like, that's it. That's just it. She completes us, she just will. She brings us so much joy," said Michalina.
Because her husband was given a second chance at life, the mother of four strongly encourages anyone considering donating an organ, eye, or tissue, to do it.
"I would really really think about that because that can make an impact on someone's life," said Michalina.
Despite the loss of her family's sole provider, Michalina says she thanks God for the time she had with Beau, and because of her faith, looks to the future with hope and peace.
"You're not promised tomorrow. So really tell those you love that you love them. Life is so precious, it's just so precious," said Michalina.
Click here for the GoFundMe page which family and friends have set up to help support Michalina Ward and her four children.
Click here for information on "National Donate Life Month".