Organ donation has meant a second chance for our family. Four years ago, our son, Smith, was diagnosed with a liver disease called biliary atresia. About 300 babies each year are born with this terminal illness in the US. Our son was not responsive to a treatment to help prevent liver scarring so his only option for survival was a liver transplant. On July 1, 2009, at 6 months old he received his gift of life which was just in the nick of time since most of his doctors did not think he would make it to his 1st birthday. Our biggest frustration was the uncertainty that was looming around us pre and post-transplant. Each day was a new challenge with the main goal of keeping our family together and having a “normal” life again. After spending practically the first 10 months of his life in hospitals, 4 years later, it is pure joy to see him as a typical active preschooler who shows no signs of illness or delay.
Because of organ donation:
- Our second son is alive and “normal”;
- We have a busy, active, healthy, silly, 4 year old who makes us smile and gives us joy each and every day;
- Our oldest son still has a brother/best friend/roommate;
- We’ve learned the true meaning of compassion and sympathy through our donor family;
- We’ve strengthened our faith in God;
- We’ve learned about the power of prayer, modern science, and the human spirit to survive;
- We’ve grown closer as a family; and
- We’ve learned to cherish every life experience no matter how small it may seem
Smith may not realize it yet, but he and his angel have impacted many people during his short life. Our friends and family have learned to appreciate life and the importance of organ donation more than ever because of his story.
Smith and his angel have also inspired our entire family to become passionate volunteers for Donate Life. We look for every opportunity to share his story and spread awareness about organ donation. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins have all helped in the cause. Smith has made rounds at hospitals talking to medical staff, visited church groups, cut up with high school students, participated in multiple sporting events, and made various media appearances for Donate Life Louisiana. Due to his young age and his robust personality, he makes a meaningful connection to all audiences. It is hard to look at him and not think, “He had a liver transplant??!”
Organ donation saves lives and families. Please consider becoming an organ donor today.