During the ultimate few hours of her lifetime on January 26, 2-year-old Adalynn Grace Rogers had her parents and three siblings by her hospital bedside, taking in every second they might with her. In the middle of that anguish, the grieving parents desired to document their final moments together to shine a light on their daughter’s story and produce awareness towards the heart defect that claimed their daughter’s life.
“It’s another take a look at her lifetime and just what she went through,” Adalynn’s father, Justin Rogers, 28, of Arlington, Kentucky, tells PEOPLE. “They were our final moments together with her.”
Adalynn was born on January 11, 2016 with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a birth defect that affects normal blood circulation with the heart. At just 2 days old, she’d heart surgery, and 2 months later, she was finally able to go home.
“She needed to be fed via a feeding tube, but on top of that, she did everything just like a normal baby would,” says her mother, Kristi Rogers, 28. “We did not know what was going to happen.”
But on November 8, 2017, Adalynn went into heart failure, and they were told she needed a heart transplant. 30 days later, an analog pump was implanted inside her tiny chest to assist her heart.
The family anxiously awaited a transplant, which was Adalynn’s only chance at surviving. “It was scary because we didn’t know when or if it might come,” says Kristi.
Their hope for Adalynn’s future was shattered on January 23, when she went for a CT scan due to internal bleeding. Adalynn was on the breathing tube and after the scan, she vomited and doctors believe she aspirated into her lungs. She remained without oxygen for 15 to 25 minutes, which led to severe brain damage.
When doctors told the household that they was no longer eligible for a transplant, they knew there was anything they might do for her.
“We were lost,” says Justin. “We literally just found out there is nothing else they might do to save her. All of the hope that we had built up was gone.”
He adds: “It was just a question of methods enough time we had playing her before we had to tun off the machine.”
It was during this period that the social worker contacted photographer, Suha Dabit, about taking photos of the family together at the hospital.
Dabit, who also runs a company called Realm of Broken Hearts, raises awareness of congenital heart defects, and also has a daughter who received a heart transplant.
The Rogers agreed and Dabit arrived at a healthcare facility at 9 a.m. on January 26 to document their tearful goodbyes. Just hours later, at 11:58 a.m., Adalynn died.
“It was heartbreaking,” says Justin. “Seeing our kids are saying bye for their sister – nobody is ever ready for that.”
“We informed her how sorry we were that all of this happened,” he adds. “There wasn’t a whole lot to say aside from that we’d take her place if we could.”
For Dabit, she had to hold back tears as she documented their final moments together. “I knew how important this moment was,” says Dabit. “It was very, very emotional.”
Looking back, Kristi and Justin wish to focus on how “happy” their little girl was when she was alive, and do anything they can to bring awareness to her condition.
“There was never a bad moment together with her,” says Justin. “She was literally always smiling and bringing joy to everybody around her.”
The Rogers hope that by showing the planet a small glimpse of what their daughter experienced, it will help shed an easy on her behalf condition and encourage organ donation. Through a Facebook page they created, they want to raise awareness about Adalynn’s heart defect, which affects around one in 100 newborns.
“We didn’t know how common this condition is,” says Justin, “and how little people learn about it.”