Boy who fell at Whatcom Falls dies; organs donated to help others

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 19, 2014 

A 7-year-old boy who slipped off Whatcom Falls last week died Thursday, May 15, according to the King County Medical Examiner's office.

Jaden Griffin fell about 30 feet down the falls early Tuesday afternooon.

His family released a statement Monday through the Bellingham Police Department thanking rescue personnel and the medical staff at St. Joseph Medical Center in Bellingham and Seattle Children's Hospital. They also said the boy's organs were donated to help other people and medical research.

"Although we have lost him, we are comforted in knowing that our pain and heartbreak was not in vain," the statement said. "He had dreamed of becoming a hero by being a firefighter. And although that dream did not come to fruition, he was able to be a hero to three different individuals and their families, as well as medical research, through organ donation. We have no doubt that that is what he would have wanted. We believe he was an angel with a mission and he fulfilled that mission when he was returned to God. Our little angel is the hero that he's always wanted to be and we take pride in the short time that we had with him, as he touched each person that he ever crossed paths with.

"He will never be forgotten and forever be in our hearts. Please continue to pray for our family through this pain and appreciate your time with your loved ones."

The parents have continued to request privacy.

Rescuers spent two hours May 13 frantically trying to find Jaden before finally spotting his body around 3 p.m.. They believed he was dead, and a sheet covered him as medics wheeled him on a gurney across the stone bridge at the park's entrance to a waiting ambulance.

Because he had been in cold water, there was hope he could be revived, even after about two hours underwater. He was taken to St. Joseph hospital where staff tried any life-saving measures they could. He was transferred to Seattle Children's hospital in critical condition that night.

The cause of death was drowning, according to the King County Medical Examiner's office.

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