Discover resources available to our donor families for honoring loved ones who shared the gift of life.


The Tummy Angel

Valen Krasnov

Valen Krasnov was just 3 years old when his parents were told he was in liver failure and needed a transplant. The shocking news came after Valen and his father, Zaccarri, went on a camping trip and afterward noticed Valen’s eyes were almost completely yellow. He was admitted into the hospital in June 2021.

“We really thought we would bring him to the hospital, get some medicine and go home,” says his mother, Kelsey. Luckily, Valen matched and received a transplant within 12 hours of being put on the transplant list, an indication of just how sick he truly was.

“We’re so grateful we only waited 12 hours when others wait years,” said Zaccarri.

Now, more than a year after Valen’s transplant, “he’s doing really well, he’s really happy.” Since Valen was relatively healthy before his rapid illness and transplant, there’s been an adjustment period for the family as they get used to the changes that come with an organ transplant. Things are looking up as Valen, now 4 years old, is getting back into his routine and finally able to go swimming, which was a big goal of his.

“We think about [Valen’s donor] every day,” says Kelsey. They call his donor the “tummy angel” and are already thinking of ways to make family traditions to celebrate the donor and make sure they are remembered.

Kelsey and Zaccarri are looking forward to sending a letter to Valen’s donor’s family to express their gratitude for their selfless donation.

“I started writing some things out about what I want to say in our letter, there’s so much I want to say but there are not enough words, we are very grateful…We got a second chance with him,” explains Kelsey.

The mother of two is doing her part in encouraging people to register as organ, eye and tissue donors by explaining how it impacted her family. Recently, she was at the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division when she realized a woman next to her was debating on checking the box to become an organ donor. “I told her Valen’s entire story, and she checked the box to become an organ donor.”

There are more than 106,000 people waiting on the transplant list, more than 1,500 in Arizona alone, and every person who becomes an organ donor gives hope to those who are still waiting. Thanks to the generosity of an organ donor, Valen received a second chance at life.

Valen Krasnov
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