‘I think it’s beautiful:’ After mom and 3 kids die in fire, organ donations enable at least 8 organ transplants – NBC Chicago
In the final hours of her life, Summer Day-Stewart’s family clung to one solace.
Plans have been made to donate his organs and those of his three young children who died in a house fire in Montclare last week. Doctors said at least eight life-saving transplants would be performed.
“I think it’s beautiful,” her sister Sarah Day said on Tuesday. “I think Summer would have been very happy with it.
“She was always trying to help people and be there for people,” Sarah added. “She would have done anything for someone she loved.”
Day-Stewart, 36, and her children – Autumn, 9, Ezra, 7, and Emory, 2 – were inhaled by smoke when a fire broke out at their home in the 2500 block of North Rutherford Avenue March 7.
Day-Stewart’s husband, Walter Stewart, a Chicago firefighter, heard his home address on his station’s alert system and rushed to the block and gave his wife CPR.
But firefighters said her injuries and those of their children were too serious. Ezra died the following day, his mother last Thursday and the other two children Friday.
“We were in the hospital the whole time,” Sarah said. “Usually when there is a tragedy, they cannot donate organs.
“But in this case, the smoke inhalation or the carbon monoxide got them first,” she said. “So they were on life support but not alive. So they had a lot of organs that could be donated. They told me pediatric organs are really hard to find.
“I think she wished she knew that was her last act, saving lives,” Sarah said.
Day-Stewart and her sister grew up in California but lived everywhere and always had family in Chicago. For Day-Stewart, being a mother was everything.
“She loved her babies,” her sister-in-law Amber Day said.
Fall was like a “little mini summer,” free-spirited, just like her, according to Sarah. “You will never meet a child like Autumn.”
Ezra, the middle child, had been diagnosed with autism and could not speak. But he always had a smile on his face, those close to him said.
“She (Day-Stewart) spent every moment of every day making sure he had everything he needed to thrive and succeed,” Amber said.
Emory, the youngest, was just a toddler but already loved fire trucks and wanted to be like his father, who has worked for the Chicago Fire Department for nearly three years.
Day-Stewart had close friends across the country, and memorials to the family are in the works in Chicago, Oregon and California. Day-Stewart also loved music – from Tupac to Ella Fitzgerald – and enjoyed playing the guitar.
Sarah and her sister lived across the country but remained close.
“He was a good person,” Sarah said. “She lived up to her name, she beamed sunshine everywhere she went.
“You don’t think about how quickly this can happen,” she added. Tell people you love them…Tell them every chance you get.
The Chicago Fire Union is also collecting donations for the family.