Last week the family of 5-month-old Marcus Albers from Waukesha, WI issued an urgent plea for a living liver donor to save their son's life. Hundreds of people from Illinois and Wisconsin rushed to answer that plea, but sadly time ran out, and precious Marcus passed away in his parents' arms at Children's Hospital in Milwaukee according to WGN TV.

In the midst of unspeakable grief, Marcus' parents released a statement on Wednesday thanking the thousands of people who stepped up to help their son, but the message they sent about the flaws with the living donor screening process is something I believe we all need to read:

Thank you to the thousands of people who graciously volunteered to be a living donor for baby Marcus. We want to especially thank the individual(s) that were screened and selected for transplant, but ultimately did not qualify. There was no disappointment from us. The donor’s health was just as important as Marcus’. However, our disappointment does lie with the living donor screening process. There should have been a better system in place to handle the large volume of selfless people attempting to call and be screened. This would have made it more likely that Marcus would have matched with multiple qualified living donors. Due to the limitations of this screening process, Marcus became too ill for surgery while waiting for matches. He passed away peacefully in our arms with his caring Doctors, loving nurses, and amazing staff by his side.”

“Our son would have been so proud at the overwhelming attention given to children waiting for organs. Unfortunately, his organs were not healthy enough to donate. Please consider adding your name to the Wisconsin Donor Registry at donatelifewisconsin.org to help other children like Marcus. He has touched so many people. Keep him and his brother Dominic in your thoughts and prayers. All of you will be kept in ours. Thank you again.

-Anthony, Whitney, and Dominic Albers”

I'm so sorry the system failed this precious little boy and the family and medical staff who loved him. I hope this tragedy will force changes to be made to the living donor screening process. To my fellow Rockfordians who volunteered to donate part of your liver to Marcus, thank you. I'm sorry we didn't have enough time to save his life.