Mom donates thousands of ounces of breast milk after losing newborn daughter

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Stephanie Surrey's fourth child, Marion Ohana Surrey, was born with severe complications.

"They told us we didn't know how long she would be with us, whether minutes or days, I was unsure," she told WDAF.

Marion died three days after she was born. Initially, her family considered donating her organs.

"I have always felt like Marion, that her purpose here was to help others," Surrey said.

But the baby was too tiny. Instead, ounce by ounce, her family found another way to honor the child's memory.

Surrey donated thousands of ounces -- hundreds of gallons -- of breast milk.

"Every ounce that we could collect was going to help someone else," Surrey said.

"When I turned the pump in, this summer, 'cause I had dried up, I cried. I just cried and cried. It was like giving her up all over again."

The milk she pumped because of baby Marion helped hundreds of other babies.

"We really recognize that this is really life-saving and life-giving," milk bank director Barbara Carr said.

WDAF was there when Carr met the Surreys for the first time.

"It's bittersweet because we do know that it's going to help another baby, but we know it's a terribly sad time for a woman to be in that position," Carr said.

St. Luke's Hospital of Kansas City has its own bank for donations of breast milk and provides milk for thousands of babies across the United States. About 5 percent of those donations come from mothers who lost their newborns.