The Courage of Parents

Can you imagine being together as a family and your 7-year old son complains about a headache and three minutes later is unconscious and being rushed to the hospital due to a stroke? This is exactly what happened to some friends of ours less than two weeks ago. The life of this boy continues in others now, and I want to share this message of courage and compassion by his parents, even with death.

My partner spent Tuesday and Wednesday with our friends and their young son. This family has given a great gift to the world despite their great suffering. On Thursday morning around 6:00am (Pacific), this young boy was taken into surgery to have 8 of his internal organs removed. Each of these organs were placed into another person (all but pancreas and small bowel were successful).

Though he went brain dead on Sunday, the parents have stayed with him in the hospital for four more days while the transplant team sought donor recipients. This type of courage and compassion is inspiring. My partner said to me more than once that he looked like a little Buddha laying in the hospital bed. Our friends will certainly have some tough days ahead of them, but if the last week has been any indication of their commitment and their caliber as human beings, then they will be fine. Please send your love and support to them.

I know what a gift that has been given. My mom died 10 years ago as she awaited a new liver. I remember well the moment we received a call that a liver was available and then finding out a few hours later the family had changed their mind. When a family is waiting for a transplant, it is like waiting on pins and needles with a hope that something will become available to save a life.

For me, there are two messages in this story. First and foremost, love your children as if today is the last day of their lives. Be present. Secondly, become an organ donor. Remember this young boy and how he has touched, and possibly given the gift of life, to six other people.

According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, 99,505 are on a transplant waiting list and only 4,578 donors this year to date (United States only). If you haven’t registered to donate an organ, you can do it right now at Donate Life, just as this young boy has done.

I am awestruck and inspired by these parents. We need more people like this in the world. This boy continues to live in others and now he will continue to live in you too.

  • How horribly sad, and touching. And a wonderful post to get this out into the world, as well – a great message, Kenley. My thoughts are with the family, and I hope many people see the need for organ donation and sign up to save a life – or eight.

  • How horribly sad, and touching. And a wonderful post to get this out into the world, as well – a great message, Kenley. My thoughts are with the family, and I hope many people see the need for organ donation and sign up to save a life – or eight.

  • Jim

    Thanks, Kenley, for sharing with us this account of how such an overwhelming, unexpected loss was met with such grace and compassion by your friends. Tell them for me that their example, related by you, has moved me to effectualize a decision to become a donor. My wife and I had discussed this very subject just this week, and I had already concluded from our conversation that this was something I would do. Thanks to you, I now have the informational link to do so, without waiting for my next driver’s license renewal. After talking to my wife tonight, I’ll follow through by registering. Who was it that said that “…experience isn’t what happens to us, but how we choose to regard what has happened to us”?

  • Jim

    Thanks, Kenley, for sharing with us this account of how such an overwhelming, unexpected loss was met with such grace and compassion by your friends. Tell them for me that their example, related by you, has moved me to effectualize a decision to become a donor. My wife and I had discussed this very subject just this week, and I had already concluded from our conversation that this was something I would do. Thanks to you, I now have the informational link to do so, without waiting for my next driver’s license renewal. After talking to my wife tonight, I’ll follow through by registering. Who was it that said that “…experience isn’t what happens to us, but how we choose to regard what has happened to us”?

  • Norman

    Everything happens for a reason.

    I have learned that we do not always understand the reason, but it will become clear to us in time, when we are ready.

    Such brave parents! Please give them a huge hug for me.

  • Norman

    Everything happens for a reason.

    I have learned that we do not always understand the reason, but it will become clear to us in time, when we are ready.

    Such brave parents! Please give them a huge hug for me.

  • I am moved by this. I have 3 boys, 7yrs, 5yrs, and 2 yrs—and I feel for the family. I work hard at being present to the joy they bring to life every day.

    I have been and still am an organ donor. I hope others see what they leave behind can do to help those in need.

    My heartfelt sympathies to the family and admiration for their decision in helping people.

  • I am moved by this. I have 3 boys, 7yrs, 5yrs, and 2 yrs—and I feel for the family. I work hard at being present to the joy they bring to life every day.

    I have been and still am an organ donor. I hope others see what they leave behind can do to help those in need.

    My heartfelt sympathies to the family and admiration for their decision in helping people.