After beating the odds at just 3 months old thanks to a heart transplant, Titus Sickles, now 1 year old, honored his donor with a full-on photo shoot for his first birthday. When he was born on Jan. 8, Titus had half a heart and was also diagnosed with cardiomyopathy — when you heart doesn't pump blood efficiently — so within a matter of days he was put on the transplant list. Following a terrifying year of health problems for Titus, his mom, Rena Sickles, organized the shoot. She enlisted the help of Sarah Masten from Little Hearts Photos, who got to work planning the perfect day.
"It was a miracle he even made it to his first birthday," Rena told POPSUGAR. "Without his heart transplant he would have been lucky to make it through the next week. We felt like his birthday was a huge milestone and what better way to celebrate than to capture the excitement."
And Rena had a very particular concept in mind for the shoot. Because of privacy laws, organ donors' identities are kept secret, which meant Rena needed to get creative.
"I asked his photographer if she was up for a challenge to make one of the photos like those pictures people take with a sign looking for their biological parents after being adopted," she said. "To me, the donor's family is our family, so it was the same concept to me. After all, Titus is only alive today because of their selfless choice to donate life."