All Stories

Smith-Liver Recipient

I was sitting in the PICU of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital as we sat beside my 5 month old son’s bed. We were begging God for a miracle.  He had been fighting 24 hours for his life, but really he had fought since birth. Smith was born with a rare liver disease called Biliary Atresia. The bile ducts in his liver were not formed correctly, leaving them unable to drain properly. Bile was trapped and quickly caused cirrhosis to his liver. During pregnancy my dreams for Smith were big, and did not ever include having to watch my child fight for his life, but, there I was. Flooding into my thoughts came the hopes, and dreams my husband and I had for Smith. The holidays we envisioned sharing with him, all the “firsts.” First step, first word, first birthday, first day of school, soccer game, summer at the beach. We wanted to share him with our friends and family, give him siblings, read him books, take him to the park, go on adventures, and teach him about life.  We were so close to not having any of those memories. After many risks, chances taken, and unimaginable fear, Smith was stable. Machine after machine miraculously kept my baby alive, and Smith was listed at the top of the organ donation list. He was in very critical condition, and days from death.  11 hours later, we mourned the life of his donor and their family, yet celebrated the miracle that we had just witnessed. A perfect liver had been matched. Surgery was risky, and fear still flooded our hearts and minds, but Smith had a chance. He made it through. Today, he is a happy and healthy two year old.  Outwardly, nobody ever knows he has had an organ transplant. My husband and I with our extended family, have gotten to enjoy all the ” firsts” in his life and are so thrilled to be able to continue loving and celebrating this gift that we have been given in so many ways.


There is not a day that goes by I don’t remember our story. It is ingrained in our hearts and minds and is now just a part of who we are. I will forever be grateful that someone chose life and hope for my son when we were desperate for a miracle. Someone chose the selfless act of giving, what was once theirs, for us to enjoy.  Organ Donation means giving someone their life back. It’s a gracious act of service to give a gift we all want more of, and that is time. Donating your organs is such an easy step, it takes seconds, and gives tenfold. Please, consider joining the Kentucky Organ Donor Registry.