Heartwarming Stories Highlight the Gift of Organ Donation
For the last few months we’ve discussed organ donation, highlighting important facts, busting myths and talking to a heart transplant surgeon, so you, the reader become inspired to register to donate your organs. Of course, there are so many amazing stories that you can read about how a life was saved or changed, thanks to an organ donation. Here are just a few of the recent and compelling stories in the news that highlight organ donation and its life-changing impact.
On October 5th of this year, Time featured an exclusive, 4 Breakthrough Uterus Transplants Performed in the U.S. Four American women received womb transplants from living donors. This was the first time that living-donor womb transplants were done in the U.S. Unfortunately, three of the four wombs had to be removed after surgeons determined that there wasn’t adequate blood flow to the organs, but one woman still has her transplanted womb and there are no signs currently of rejection. In Sweden, where the surgery was pioneered, five out of nine women, recipients of womb transplants, have given birth to healthy babies and one woman is pregnant with her second.
On July 30th of this year, CNN covered the extraordinary story of a young Baltimore boy who became the first to receive new hands from an organ donor. All Zion Harvey has ever wanted is to swing from a set of monkey bars. Well, thanks to this life-changing surgery that dream may be a reality someday. Zion is the first child to ever receive a double hand transplant. At the age of two, Zion faced a life-threatening sepsis infection that resulted in multiple organ failure and necessitated the amputation of his hands and feet. He received a kidney transplant from his mom, at age four, and this tough kid with a perpetual grin on his face has been bopping around on prosthetic legs and waiting hopefully for the opportunity to have functional hands.
The transplant surgery was deemed successful so far, with the hands pinking up in the operating room after hours of surgery. Zion will require lifelong immunosuppressive drugs, and he will endure months and months of rehabilitation. Most important in this story is the Gift of Life Program, which was responsible for procuring the hands on Zion’s behalf. It’s important to remember that a grieving family gave the ultimate gift to Zion from a loved one. The CNN coverage described the enormous courage of a family that was able to relinquish the arms of a child who had just died, to give “hope, life and quality of life to a living child.”
The last story involves a veteran. Our heroic veterans go off to war, to serve and protect us, not knowing if they will come home at all, or return with life-changing scars from battle. One veteran stepped on an improvised device that exploded. Six years later, the quadruple amputee, Marine Corps Sgt. John Peck, was lucky enough to finally receive a double arm transplant from a man who died. His story, told in a recent Chicago Tribune column, speaks to the courage of those who serve and the courage of those who pledge to donate organs.
We hope these stories will move you and inspire you to become an organ donor. Learn more about organ donations and help us to register 60,000 donors of all ages.