From the moment that a mom and dad fall in love with their child, they would do anything for their little one. They give their baby life, and if there is a way that they can stop them from suffering, they would give all that they have — even if it means sacrificing part of their own selves.
This has been proven over and over again in the lives of little ones who are suffering organ failure. Unfortunately, some children who need new organs have to wait for it to come from another person — a complete stranger who happens to match their blood type and antibodies — to have a life-saving transplant. But for children who don't have functioning kidneys, it's possible for a matching parent or loved one (or a stranger) to donate one of their functioning kidneys. It's also possible for loved ones to donate a portion of their liver to a person who needs it — the organ will regenerate in both the donor and the recipient and hopefully restore both to health in time.
The gift of an organ means surgery and a long recovery, but it gives hope to a parent who could lose their child. It's a sacrifice, but it's an easy decision when it means that a sick child could be well. We are inspired by the amazing parents who do it, so we want to share their stories.
Here are 15 parents who donated tissues to their kids.
15 Double Donation
Poor little Joe Lamont has gone through a lot — and so has his mom. Joe was diagnosed with two disorders before his first birthday, and one caused a big problem for his kidneys and the other was devastating his liver. Joe's kidneys were so large that they were crushing his lungs, and they had to be removed when he was just a few days old. That meant he was on dialysis for years while waiting for a transplant.
When his liver caused even more health problems, his mom Sarah decided to become a live donor (you can donate a portion of your liver and it will regrow). After already giving so much, his mom realized that she should give one of her kidneys as well so her son could have a better quality of life. And Joe is thriving after the surgeries.
“I’m just so glad I was a match, because I think something would’ve happened if not. He could have died," Sarah said to The Independent. “Joe is doing amazingly. He’s grown a lot and has so much energy now. You wouldn’t recognise him."
14 Dad's Devotion
Willi Torres didn't hesitate about wanting to donate his kidney to his son, who has Berger's disease. But at the time, the doctors were the ones to hesitate, telling Willi that his health was not good enough to guarantee that he would survive the surgery. Willi was overweight and he had high blood sugar, so his son went on the transplant list and began to wait.
Eventually, his son Will received a kidney from a deceased donor, but Willi decided he needed to improve his own health for the benefit of his family. He started to get fit and his blood sugar levels got under control. Four years after Will's surgery, he began to have kidney trouble again, and he needed a new organ. This time, his dad was ready and willing to help, and doctors at Florida Hospital Transplant Center agreed.
“I think that it’s something normal. If you’re a real dad, you don’t think about it. You just do what you have to do,” Willi said in the Orlando Sentinel. Both father and son are doing well, thanks to a dad's devotion.
13 Family Sacrifices
When there are two kids in the family with kidney failure, it takes both parents to make sacrifices for their children's health. But unfortunately for the British family Wishicks, it doesn't guarantee that everyone will be healthy. In 2005, Mark Wishick donated his kidney to his son Oliver, and seven years later, the Wishick's daughter Ella was ailing. Mom Joanne stepped up and donated one of her kidneys.
According to a 2017 BBC News report, though, Ella's transplanted kidney is failing. Both parents are left with one kidney, so they cannot donate again without endangering their own health. Unfortunately, Ella is going through dialysis, and the family is raising money for home extension to build a sterile room for her to go through the procedure. They are waiting for the potential of another donation, but this time it will have to come from outside of the family. They would give again if they could, but the kids need a mom and dad too.
12 Dad's Repentance
Anthony Dickerson knew he hadn't done a lot of good with his life, but the best thing he ever did was become a dad to little A.J. Burgess. But the boy was born without kidneys, and he was put on a kidney transplant list almost immediately.
Anthony was a perfect match, and he wanted to do right by his son by giving him his kidney, but he was shocked to learn that his criminal history was in the way.
Last year, the story made national news when Anthony was released from jail in order to go through the surgery only to be held up at the hospital because of the concerns that his criminal behavior would keep him from being healthy after the donation. The matter was in court when a deceased donor kidney became available, and A.J. got to have the surgery without his dad's sacrifice. Anthony didn't end up being the donor, but he was grateful that his son got to get the kidney he needed and is doing well after surgery.
11 Dad's Donation To Adopted Daughter
Michael Wagner and his wife Johanne loved their adopted daughters even before they brought them home from Vietnam. They knew that the girls both had liver failure during the adoption, but they hoped to give the girls a new life — although they never imagined they how much they could give.
Even though there is no blood relation, Michael Wagner miraculously was a donor match to his girls.
But unfortunately he could only give to one child. His liver donation was given to little Phuoc, and Binh had to wait for another donor. The couple could never decide, so they allowed the doctor to make the decision based on the best possible health outcome and greater immediate need. “[We’re] relieved but we need one more donor," Johanne told ABC News. A few months later, a donor was located, and both girls and their dad are doing well.
10 Big Family Love
David Lipscomb is quite a dad. He's a father of 10 who has always been there for his kids, so when his son Gage needed a kidney, he was willing to give his own up.
Gage was just 2 when he started having chronic fevers and urinary tract infections. By 6, one of his kidneys had to be removed, and the other was failing by the time he was 14. That meant his active lifestyle playing sports was put on hold. His dad had two healthy kidneys, so he stepped up and offered one. All of the kids were there to support the two during surgery.
"There were too many of them to fit in the waiting room, so they had to go to a separate waiting room. They were easy to find, though. They made it really easy on me. They were all wearing green T-shirts," the doctor said on 10tv.com. And they were all smiles — including the dad.
9 Mom's Gift
Even before he was born Harrison Hume's mom knew he would have chronic kidney disease. The baby's condition, which also included malformations of the neck and the ears, was picked up during the mom's 20-week ultrasound, and he ended up with fluid in his brain when he was just nine-months old. By 18 months, he's already gone through a couple of surgeries, and he needed medication daily and a special diet.
His mom was willing to do it all for her baby, and when he needed a kidney, she was willing to give that for her son too.
Both of Harrison's parents Rory and Travis were a match, but they decided that Rory would donate, since Travis is a stay-at-home, and he would be better able to care for the two of them after the surgery. Poor Harrison had a hard time after the surgery, and it took some time to recover, but Rory said she saw silver linings in the ability for her to give her organ to her son.
“Throughout all of these challenges, Harrison continues to be an outgoing, spunky, fun, rambunctious little boy," she told the Children's Organ Transplant Association." He is funny and endearing and bright and while he still gets nervous at loud noises and is a bit shy when meeting new people, we know this too shall pass and soon it will be smooth sailing with his new kidney.”
8 Calvin's Kidney
Garrett Hummel had a friend who donated a kidney once, but he never really got the desire to do something drastic like that for a bucket list — that is, until the child in need was his son. Little Calvin Hummel was born with a rare genetic mutation that caused him to spend weeks at a time in the hospital. He caught a virus when he was 10-months-old and ended up being rushed to the hospital when he stopped eating and producing wet diapers. He ended up in kidney failure and he needed multiple surgeries and dialysis to stay alive.
When he got strong enough, Calvin would undergo a kidney transplant, and his father was the perfect match. "When it's your kid, you'll do anything for them," said Heidi, Calvin's mom, in the Chicago Tribune. The surgery was hard on both of them, but now Calvin is growing and becoming more healthy, all thanks to his dady.
7 A Perfect Match
Patricia Alva just wanted a normal life for her little girl. Sweet little Olivia was born with biliary atresia, which meant that her bile ducts didn't form normally and her liver would not work correctly, and when she was just two weeks old, she had to have surgery. But her mom knew that the surgery was only a short-term solution. Eventually, her baby would need a new liver, and so she quickly offered to be her donor.
“I didn’t know it was a possibility, but when we found out about it, I didn’t think twice,” Patricia said in a Seattle Children's Hospital post.
“It was my daughter’s life. As a mother, you’d do anything to save your baby’s life.”
Patricia said it was amazing to be able to give her daughter a chance at better health. It gave her hope to be able to do something instead of waiting for a liver to become available, and so far her daughter is thriving with the donated organ.
6 Nanny's Donation
For a lot of families, having a nanny means putting your baby's life into another person's hands while adding another adult as a member of the family. For the Rosko family, that truly went even further when baby Talia needed a new organ and their nanny was willing to give hers so that the baby could get better.
Kiersten Miles took a summer job watching little Talia when the family learned that the little girl was so sick that she would need a liver transplant.
Amazingly, Kiersten didn't hesitate to get tested, and she was willing to donate a part of her liver when she learned she was a match.
Kiersten told The Today Show that she had bonded with the baby and her family and she was happy to go through surgery so that the girl would have a chance at getting healthy. Kiersten is definitely an amazing nanny, and we're sure her parents were not only grateful but incredibly blessed to find such an amazing caregiver for their little girl.
5 Giving Life Twice
The reason that so many parents are able to donate their liver to their child is because doctors have discovered that they can take a small portion of a liver from a healthy person, and the organ will regenerate itself in both the donor and the transplant recipient. That miraculous occurrence is what allowed for Traci Tigue to give her son hope for better health twice. Baby Brodie was just three months when doctors learned through exploratory surgery that he had inflammation in his bile ducts and would need a new liver.
His mom immediately volunteered and learned she was a match. The surgery was tough on both of them, but they came out OK, and they hoped for better health for Brodie. Traci gave life to the boy just a few months before, and she wouldn't hesitate to do it again, she said in Parents.
4 'Where Do I Sign?'
Whenever a baby is sick, most moms and dads would do just about anything to make it so that they would feel better soon. That's even true when it means sacrificing a part of their own body. Dara Kass, a doctor, knew just want it meant when her son Sammy was born with a rare condition that impaired his liver function, and she knew immediately that she would do whatever it took to help him. By his first birthday, the little boy was in liver failure, and immediately when it came time to talk about donation, she said she would give.
"Where do I sign?" Dara wrote in a personal journey in the New York Times.
The hardest part of the journey was that Dara's and Sammy's surgeries took place in two separate buildings, and Dara couldn't get up after her surgery was done to help her little guy. "We had come through this experience together, as mother and son, and a piece of me was helping him get better," she wrote, adding that leaving the hospital knowing that her son would still have a long recovery was difficult. Sammy spent his second birthday in the hospital, but a year and a half later both of their scars had faded, and they are both happy and healthy.
3 Father's Life-Saving Gift
Poor little Rachel Thomas was failing to thrive. The girl was diagnosed in utero with a cyst on her bile duct, and after the birth things just weren't right. Eventually, she had to have surgery, but it only resulted in more problems, including an infection and even more cysts. Three years later, after many surgeries and procedures, doctors told Rachel's parents that there weren't any more options — she needed a liver transplant.
Her dad John stepped up to be tested right away, and friends and family surrounded the family with support, according to the Children's Organ Transplant Association. The surgery was successful, and the family is now thriving in more ways than one, the family said in a COTA report. After all that time in the hospital, little Rachel said she wants to be a doctor, and she has her dad to thank for the opportunity.
2 Secret Donation
When your baby is sick, some moms will stop at nothing to make sure that they get the transplant that they need. A young mother in China had saved enough money to pay for a liver transplant for her baby, but her own parents didn't approve of the surgery, and they took her ID and other documents away so that they could stop her from being the donor.But the woman wasn't deterred.
According to an Asia One report, Jiang Liuxin stole the documents back so that she could give her baby the thing that she needed most — a healthy liver.
"I'm really sorry to my parents, but I had no choice. My husband and I believe we need to take full responsibility for our daughter." Jiang said in the report. "I would try anything to save her."
1 Quite A Pair
Sometimes, it isn't possible for parents to give their organ to save their child. When they aren't a match, it may seem like hope is lost without another kind donation. But medical professionals have devised a match system that can allow a mom in need to give to another child to increase the chances that her own child will receive a donor. That's what happened for Jennifer Dado, whose son Zackery needed a kidney transplant after a traumatic birth.
Zack's health was failing and his mom was extremely worried when she learned about the paired donor process.
Jennifer was able to donate but incompatible, so her kidney was given to another child in need and her son received a transplanted kidney from another person later that did match.
“I am so honored to have been able to give the gift of life to a stranger so I could help my child receive his second chance at life,” Jennifer said in a COTA article. “Since our transplants, I have told so many people how amazing and awesome it is when you can make a life-saving difference for another … and then to be able to watch your beautiful, healthy child grow and enjoy life is priceless.”
Sources: New York Times, The Independent, Orlando Sentinel, BBC News, CBS News, Children's Organ Transplant Association, Chicago Tribune, SeattleChildrens.org, Today.com, Parents.com, Asia One, COTA, ABC News, 10tv.com