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My Experience: Pediatric Organ Donation

This post is written in partnership with the Lane Thomas Foundation.
My experiences are genuine and uniquely my own. 

Over 2,000 children are waiting for an organ donation, at any given time. Sadly, over 100 children die each year waiting for an organ donation. It may be an unbearable thing to think about, the loss of a child, but there can be a silver lining in the midst of a tragedy when your loss can help a family in need. 

 

Our Experience with Loss
and Pediatric Organ Donation

Our family experienced an absolute tragedy 4 years ago.

We lost our 2-year-old son in an accident. 

I would have given anything to change those words coming out of the doctor’s mouth. “We are going to run some more tests… things aren’t looking good for your son… have you considered organ donation?”

Between the medical terms and all the confusion, my son’s doctor brought up organ donation.

Organ donation? But my son was going to be fine! I believe in miracles. This can’t really be happening. 

But sometimes, life just doesn’t go the way you hope for, pray for, plead for. Often, God has a different plan for your life and you don’t get to pick how things will turn out. But there was a choice we did have a say over. How could we make such a heart-wrenching decision at a time like this? 

For my husband and I, we knew which choice made sense. That didn’t make it easy. We would donate our son’s vital organs. 

The steps that followed were immensely difficult. An interview with a donation specialist would read off disclosures, tell us about the procedures, explain time of death, and ask us pressing and hard questions about which organs we would be willing to donate. Could we give up his kidneys, his skin, his eyes, even his heart? The proverbial center of his soul and feelings? 

Yes… with a slight stumble and hesitation and lots of tears… yes. Why? Because of love. Because of knowing some little part of our son was still out there in this world. Because we know how it feels to lose a child and can sympathize with those awaiting vital organs

My husband and I had never really talked about organ donation before we were faced with it, head on. I can remember our immediate gut reaction — no! How could we do that? It’s an impossibly hard thing to think about. 

The decision is one that is easier to make, and talk about, before faced with the unexpected.

 

Take the Lane’s Light Pledge
in Support of Pediatric Organ Donation

There are two easy ways you can get involved.

First, have that important conversation this week with your partner. Make the decision now what you will choose should the unspeakable ever happen to one of your loved ones. 

Second, you can help make a difference by sharing the importance of pediatric organ donation. An easy way to get started is to make a pledge today to raise awareness and get involved. 

Join the Lane’s Light Pledge, which includes a pledge to: 

  • Become an advocate for pediatric organ donation
  • Have discussions with our families, friends and social networks about pediatric organ donation
  • Advocate for more awareness about the families of children who need an organ donation

You can take the pledge now at lanethomas.org.

 

What would you want for your child if they were waiting for an organ donation? Children have better than an 85% chance of survival if they just get an organ in time. We can make the difference in saving children’s lives by deciding today and helping to spread awareness so that tragedies don’t end with another sad tragedy of a missed opportunity to help someone in need. 

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Kimberly Grabinski

Thursday 25th of April 2019

Oh my, I am so sorry for your loss. What a difficult time already to be faced with that kind of decision. I do think organ donation is very important, and knowing that your child helped another child is really a wonderful way to celebrate his life and his spirit.

Brianne Manz

Wednesday 24th of April 2019

I am so sorry to hear that you lost your 2 year old son. I can't imagine what you were going through at the time. To decide on organ donation I feel was a wonderful thing to do and yet such a hard decision. I am sure there are many that are thankful for what you decided. Organ donation is so important and I appreciate you sharing your story.

Kristi

Monday 22nd of April 2019

Thank you for sharing your story and experience. Organ donation is an important topic that everyone should have with their family.

Jaclyn Shimmel

Monday 22nd of April 2019

Thank you for speaking out about the importance of organ donation. It breaks my heart that you had to endure such an unimaginable loss, but, it makes my heart smile that you made the decision to donate your son's organs to literally help save other children's lives. Your son lives on in each of the children who were blessed with his organs <3

Alex

Monday 22nd of April 2019

Thank you for sharing your experience. This is very important and admirable.