Parents

Before-And-After Photos Of Kids Show Why Organ Donation Is So Important

So inspiring.

April is National Donate Life Month, a time to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation. That's why Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) created a "before and after" photo series that shows how much organ transplants can enhance a child's life.

Photographed by a kidney donor, the series features nine young organ donation recipients alongside photos of themselves before their transplants.

"At just a few months old, Silas was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart becomes weakened and cannot pump blood. Silas had been in the hospital for 101 days when his family received news that a heart was on the way. Today, the 3-year-old can be found playing with his toy trains or being loved on by his two adoring big sisters."
"At just a few months old, Silas was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart becomes weakened and cannot pump blood. Silas had been in the hospital for 101 days when his family received news that a heart was on the way. Today, the 3-year-old can be found playing with his toy trains or being loved on by his two adoring big sisters."

A representative for CHOA told The Huffington Post, "An organ transplant is a life-saving, life-changing gift. For these nine kids, a second chance at life allowed them to ditch a life filled with beeping monitors and hospital gowns to get back to the soccer fields, classrooms and neighborhoods where they belong."

One of the participants, Angelica, received a kidney from her mom, Eva, after a severe bout of double pneumonia left her with kidney failure. Her dad, James, told HuffPost that it was difficult to watch Angelica go through dialysis and live in fear of infection and complications. But thanks to Eva's match and the successful transplant, his family are some of the lucky ones.

"There are so many other kids that are not as fortunate," he said. "They are patiently waiting and courageously fighting, hoping that one day they will they will get their second chance. The fact is, demand for life-saving organs far surpasses supply and the sad truth is that not all patients will get their transplant."

Lisa and William, whose daughter Kate received a liver transplant and appeared in the photo series, echoed James' sentiments. "We hope this photo series inspires others to learn more about organ donation and to become an organ donor themselves," they told HuffPost.

Keep scrolling to see living testaments to the life-saving power of organ donation and read their stories.

1
Angelica
Children's Healthcare Of Atlanta
"Angelica spent 80 days in the hospital after a severe case of pneumonia wreaked havoc on her organs. Her kidneys never quite healed, and Angelica spent more than a year on dialysis. When a kidney transplant offered the best chance at a normal life, Angelica’s mom donated one of her kidneys. Now closing in on her ninth birthday, Angelica is dazzling audiences with the gift of her singing voice."
2
Kate
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
"After a virus attacked Kate’s liver, it was left damaged beyond repair. Kate waited for months before the gift of life arrived. As Kate prepared for surgery, her giraffe companion, Spots, prepared too. On transplant day, staff wheeled Kate and Spots into the operating room with matching caps. Now a thriving second grader, Kate still keeps Spots by her side."
3
Brandon
Children's Healthcare Of Atlanta
"Jaundiced and experiencing stomach pains, a previously healthy Brandon arrived at Children’s in acute liver failure. With his condition rapidly deteriorating, he needed a transplant -- and fast. By donating a portion of her healthy liver to replace Brandon’s failing liver, his mom allowed him to undergo a split-liver transplant. Brandon’s body was then able to use that portion to grow a new, healthy liver. Today, the 9-year-old is back on the soccer field."
4
Kaleb
Children's Healthcare Of Atlanta
"What began as a dry cough during a beach vacation led to a cardiomyopathy diagnosis for Kaleb. Kaleb then spent 96 days in the hospital in heart failure. Shortly after he turned 6 months old, Kaleb’s family got the call that a match had been found for him. Three months later, Kaleb is now happy, healthy and gearing up for a big first birthday celebration."
5
Gage
Children's Healthcare Of Atlanta
"Born with polycystic kidney disease, Gage’s kidney function rapidly deteriorated in his early elementary school years. When he was 8 years old, a woman from his church stepped forward and offered to donate one of her kidneys. Nearly 10 years later and with no sign of rejection, Gage enjoys the typical things a 17-year-old likes to do."
6
Quinn
Children's Healthcare Of Atlanta
"Just like her big brother Gage, Quinn was born with polycystic kidney disease. Also like her big brother, she received the gift of life when a friend from the family’s church offered to donate one of her kidneys. Now 14, Quinn will start high school next year."
7
Jonah
Children's Healthcare Of Atlanta
"Born with biliary atresia, a rare disease of the liver and bile ducts, Jonah had been hospitalized more than 20 times by the time he started kindergarten. When his liver gave out at the age of 6, he waited in the hospital for six weeks before a match was found. Now a doting big brother to two sisters, Jonah turns 13 this month."
8
Mallory
Children's Healthcare Of Atlanta
"When Mallory was just 10 days old, a mysterious virus attacked her heart. Her tiny, damaged heart held on for nearly two years before it could no longer keep up with her. Mallory spent two months in the hospital in critical condition before her new heart arrived. Less than a week after transplant, Mallory returned home to a neighborhood-wide celebration. Later this month, Mallory will celebrate her fourth birthday."
Inspiring Organ Donor Stories