How My Son's Short Life Made a Lasting Difference

2021-07-01

How My Son's Short Life Made a Lasting Difference

Sara Gray shares an incredible life story in this video, resignifying the premature death of one of her twin son, who died, a few days after being born.

At 35 tears old, Sara was pregnant of twins, and during the second ultrasound it was diagnosed that one of the twins had a fatal birth defect, called anencephaly. This means that his brain was not correctly formed,  because part of his skull was missing, but the other twin seemed to be healthy.

The couple, devastated by the diagnosis, had to face huge feelings and questions about what could have possible happened and, as there was nothing to be done to avoid the tragedy, they started to think of a way to make Thomas’s brief life some kind of positive impact.

They started to delve into the organ donation subject and established contacts with this purpose. That’s when Washington Regional Transplant Community – WRTC explained to the couple that Thomas would probably be too small at the birth to donate for transplant, but he could be a good candidate to donate for research. That possibility was welcomed and resignified the moment of pain, because it helped to see Thomas in a new vision, with the possibility to contribute for medical advances.

Twins where born, both alive, on March 23, 2010 and Thomas ended up dying six days later. His cord blood went to Duke University, his liver went to Cytonet in Durham, whose scope of action is cell-therapy, his corneas went to Schepens Eye Research Institute, which is part of Harvard Medical School and his retinas went to the University of Pennsylvania.

Family made Thomas Funeral and basically closed this chapter in their lives, but then they wondered, “Was it worthwhile to donate?”

WRTC - Washington Regional Transplant Community invited the couple to join other 15 grieving families who had donated their loved one’s organs for transplant, and had already received a thank-you letter from those who received them.

As they became familiar with the organ donation issue, and established more contacts, they understood how Thomas was being important for the medical research field.

One of the researchers even shared with Thomas’ parents that she had placed a request for this tissue six years earlier, but she got only one sample of tissue that fit her criteria, and it was Thomas’s. She expressed a feeling of gratitude for the donation, but at the same time she had a guilty feeling because she couldn’t imagine what the parents were feeling.

Thomas' parents told her that if she didn’t want these retinas, they would probably be buried in the ground, and to be able to participate in her study had given Thomas’s life a new meaning, so she shouldn’t feel guilty.

That moment was rewarding for all and added a positive contribution to create a feeling of peace and relief, since she had never looked for the situation from the Thomas’s parent's perspective.

Sara ends her presentation with the message that she had never thought of organ donation, but it was a very pleasant experience, that took peace to her family. The decision they made transformed a life that once seemed brief and insignificant, and revealed itself to be vital, everlasting and relevant!

This report is very heart touching, leading us to make a reflection about the way each Human Being can make a difference in the world, resignifying the events, even in the most difficult moments of deep sadness.

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