Special thanks to Laurie Crane Photography for these photos!
There is nothing I cherish more in this world than motherhood. The kicks they made inside my belly, the bonding after birth, the smell of their head as it rests on my chest. Those moments don’t ever seem to last long enough. So, I hold my children in my arms everyday and I squeeze them tight, take a deep breath in, and whisper as their head rests on my chest, “I hope you know how much I love you.”
Motherhood changed who I am and I am here to tell you why.
Right now there are 1,900 kids waiting for organ donations in the United States. Kids, just like the ones you may have tucked in tonight. Children who should be in school worrying about their math homework, not in the hospital wondering if they will ever go to prom. And babies who have just entered the world.
We all have a general idea about how organ donation works. If you have a driver’s license, then chances are that you’ve been asked if you wanted to be one. When someone is in an accident or is ill and declared brain dead (legally not with us anymore), there is an option to donate viable organs to those in need.
I knew that. But what I didn’t know or realize was that kids need organs, too. And that those kids often need small organs, organs that can only come from other kids. And that is tragic – on all accounts. Nobody, in their right mind, wants to think about that.
The Good News
But, here is the difference between pediatric organ failure and childhood cancer or any other illness that needs to be cured. There is a cure for organ failure. This isn’t a matter of not enough funding, or not enough researchers, or not enough hospitals willing to participate. This is just a matter of parents being willing to donate organs. And personally I cannot imagine being put in that position, asked on the spot, to give a part of my child in a moment of tragedy – except that my daughter Matilda was saved two and a half years ago because a parent chose to do just that.
Matilda and children just like her are the reason I am asking you to help bring awareness to pediatric organ donation through a campaign on Instagram using the hashtag #HowIDonateLife. My goal is to collect 1,900 photographs of people giving back to their community – by crafting, reading to kids, donating toys, cleaning a park, or anything else you can think of. One photograph for every child on the transplant waiting list is all that I ask.
Help us bring hope to those who are waiting.
1. Join me on this campaign to celebrate how each of us donates life on a regular basis through simple acts of kindness and joy.
2. Snap a photo that embodies #HowIDonateLife and share it on Instagram
2. Start a conversation with someone you know about pediatric organ donation.
3. Read more about Matilda and her story on Kelly’s blog Cloudy Day Gray.