Defender of man
Child remembered at Life Gift flag raising
From the moment his parents named him, Xander Vento’s purpose in life seemed set. He was going to be a hero. Xander’s name translates to “defender of man” in Greek.
Xander drowned when he was 4 years old trying to rescue a little girl. In his effort to lift her above the water, Xander went down into the pool. His parents say the whole event occurred in less than a couple of minutes. On Aug. 6, 2012, Xander was rushed to Cook Children’s. He died three days later.
The little boy lived up to his name in his final days.
“It’s ironic,” Chris Vento, Xander’s dad, said. “This truly was his destiny. He saved somebody. He did what he was meant to do.”
But Xander wasn’t finished saving people’s lives. His brave legacy would continue as an organ donor.
Chris remembers vividly the neurologist at Cook Children’s telling him there was no brain activity. The Ventos were there with chaplain Terry Boggs, a Pastoral Care chaplain at Cook Children’s. Boggs was there to support the family spiritually and is also designated and trained to talk to parents and to answer any questions or concerns they may have about organ and tissue donation.
“I remember we both just looked at Chaplain Terry,” Chris said. “It was really weird because we hadn’t really talked about it, but we both said we want to donate Xander’s organs. We just knew this was in our hearts and we both felt it was right. We looked at it as a sign that we simultaneously made this decision.”
Since the death of Xander, the Ventos have made a point of speaking about pool safety, most recently at a drowning prevention event in Arlington for Cook Children’s, and the importance of organ donation. All in the memory of their defender of man.
“At that very moment, that little girl would have drowned,” Chris said. “He saved her. He sacrificed his life and was able to help many others through organ and tissue donation. We feel that was his purpose. So our son … we’re so proud of him. We regret the loss so much, but we know that’s what he was meant to do.”