Why Parents Need to Talk About Pediatric Organ Donation

This post is sponsored by The Lane Thomas Foundation.

"Honey, I want to talk to you about something important."

I was filling out my hospital paperwork before my twins were born when I decided there was something I needed to tell my husband.

"If anything happens to me, I want you to donate everything. Everything."

"I know," he said.

"I know you know. Just promise me, OK."

Of course he knew how I felt. How could I feel any other way about organ donation considering what had happened in our family a year before we had this conversation? Blame it on pregnancy brain, but I felt like I needed to tell him again.

Then our twins were born, and it was time for another conversation that every parent should have: one on pediatric organ donation.

Why Parents Need to Talk About Pediatric Organ Donation

I never thought much about being an organ donor until one saved my dad's life. Sure, I had checked the box on my driver's license but that was about it. Then my father was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis, and the doctors told us he needed a lung transplant.

When my dad was officially placed on the transplant list, organ donation became more than just a checkbox on a form to us. We suddenly were very aware of the need for organs, and how one family's decision could actually save another's life.

It also became clear to me that I wanted to be an organ donor if the situation ever arose. I made sure that my husband and siblings were aware of my wishes, and they all felt the same way.

Then, we had our Christmas miracle. That's what I call it because my dad received the gift of life, a new lung, on Christmas Day. It was a joyous moment for my family, but touched with sorrow. Because although he was going to live (along with at least two others that we know of), it was only made possible because another family was experiencing the worst possible type of loss.

Our donor remained anonymous, and I fully respect that. But I think of them often, and hope that they have found peace after their loss. I also hope that they know what their choice to donate meant to us. Among other things, my father would never have met my children without their gift.

So when our twins were born, I knew it was time to have another conversation.

When you're a parent, there is nothing more frightening than contemplating the loss of a child. At any given time, more than 2,000 parents in this country are doing just that, as their children are waiting for organ transplants.

More than 100 children die waiting for an organ donation each year.

I know something of the fear and anxiety that comes with this wait, as we did it with my dad. I also know the miracle that came with his donated lung.

That is why I have taken the Lane's Light Pledge.

The pledge is simple: you are promising to become an advocate for pediatric organ donation. This means having the hard conversation with your spouse about what would happen if you were ever faced with this choice. This also means sharing the importance of pediatric organ donation with your family, friends, and social networks.

Ultimately, parents are responsible for the decision whether to donate or not. You hope that you never have to make that decision, but having the discussion now is better than thinking about this for the first time in the middle of a tragedy.

There are so few opportunities in life to save a child’s life with a decision, but that is exactly what parents can do if they support pediatric organ donation. As someone whose loved one was saved by organ donation, I can tell you that transplants are truly miraculous events that are only made possible by donors. Be someone's miracle and take the Lane's Light Pledge today.

Start the conversation in your community by sharing this video on Facebook:

Love this? Pin it here!

No one wants to talk about it but all parents need to have the conversation about pediatric organ donation. Take the Lane's Light Pledge and learn what you need to know about pediatric organ donation. Your choice can save a child. #sponsored #donatelife #organdonation

I'd love to hear from you! To get in touch, message me on Facebook or Instagram, or send me an email.