Organ donation – the gift from the unimaginable

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and-he-said-%e2%80%a8%e2%80%a8i-want-to-do-that-1As a mom of three, the last thing I ever want to think about is something happening to my babies. I don’t want them to ever feel pain – from being bullied to breaking a bone. And I especially don’t want to think about anything ever fatally harming them. But…accidents happen. Tragic circumstances occur. And it is almost more than I can bear to think of.

But, I do have to think about it. Every day. I work in the field of organ, eye and tissue donation. I see joy and pain every day. And I think I’m a better mom for it.

I’d like to gently raise this topic – pediatric organ donation. Please don’t close the page. I know. I KNOW. Our children, our hearts. We want nothing bad to befall them. But….think about it. What would you do if something ever happened to your child? If your child passed away and organ donation was a possibility, would you consent for that to happen?

Let me tell you about Jennifer, a mom from Dublin. Her son Noah passed away due to a tragic accident while playing – he was the tender age of six. When Jennifer and her husband were told there was no hope of Noah ever recovering from his injuries, they were presented with the opportunity for Noah to heal others through tissue donation. And you know what? Jennifer remembered when she and Noah were watching Grey’s Anatomy and a transplant scene came on. She remembers he asked what was going on and she said, “His heart is going on to someone else.” And he said, “I want to do that.”

Noah was able to heal dozens of people with his gifts of sight and tissue. And his gift to others has been the silver lining for his parents. While they deeply mourn the loss of their son, they know that he’s helped so many others – and that brings great comfort to them.

Let’s step back, because I know I just threw a lot at you. Let’s talk about numbers. Right now there are more than 120,000 people on the national transplant waiting list for their life-saving gift – including 2,000 children. 22 people die every day in the United States due to lack of an available organ. And even more staggering? Only 1 percent of the deaths in the nation result in organ donation being possible. The numbers are heartbreaking.

Now, why is this something important for us as moms, dads and legal guardians to think about? Because if something were to happen to your child and organ donation was a possibility, you would be presented with the opportunity of donation. With the numbers above, you can see that organ donation is incredibly rare. With a ‘yes’ to donation, your child would live on in others. With a ‘no’ to donation, all hope and possibility for others would end.

Organ and tissue donation can bring light to a very dark situation. Kids all over the United States are waiting for their second chance at life – something, most likely, another child would have to provide.

Think about donation. Talk with your family, even your children if you think they would understand its life-saving impact. A local resource is Lifeline of Ohio – they can offer materials for holding these conversations. You can also have all your questions about organ, eye and tissue donation answered and register to be a donor.

My job, and families like Noah’s, reminds me life is a precious gift. Make sure to hug your babies tight and love on them every day.

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Jessica is a native of Cleveland, OH (well, a small town 30-minutes outside of CLE, Perry, have you heard of it?!) who moved with her family of five to Columbus in 2014 on a giant leap of faith. Columbus has not disappointed from Day One. She is mom to three great kids, Sadie (7), Colin (5) and Elise (3). Somehow the kids ended up each being 26-months apart, something this not-so-mathematically inclined mama definitely did not plan! She’s been married to her husband Brian for ten years and credits him for (mostly) keeping her crazy in check. Her work is one of her passions – she works media relations in the field of organ, eye and tissue donation. Her job brings her great pride and joy and she actually looks forward going into work every single day. Her other passion is advocating for stage four breast cancer research. Jessica lost her mom in 2013, after a two-year, harrowing road with cancer. She tries to raise awareness for the spread of breast cancer and to educate others on supporting causes that fund stage four research to save lives. Jessica recently won her first Blue Ribbon at the Ohio State Fair for “Button Price” a button art (yes, that’s a thing) rendition of Prince (the singer and purple legend), loves Beyoncé, will never turn down the opportunity of a mid-Saturday nap and is excited to continue exploring this great city we live in!