On April 26, superheroes of all sizes assembled on The Auxiliary Bridge to celebrate National Pediatric Transplant Week, observed each year during the last full week of National Donate Life Month in April.
The event, hosted by Texas Children’s Transplant Services, marked the end of a week that focuses on the powerful message of ending the pediatric transplant waiting list. There were plenty of fun activities for children, including karaoke, hula-hooping, coloring and crafts, a photo wall, and a visit from Elsa, one of Texas Children’s three therapy dogs. There were also educational materials available on organ donation and transplantation.
The event also honored real-life superheroes – the donor families whose children have saved and healed lives through organ, eye and tissue donation.
The gift of an organ transplant comes to one family as another family is enduring the most difficult time of their lives. The team in Transplant Services works hand in hand with Texas Children’s Spiritual Care Department during these times to provide donor families with compassionate support, to honor the choice to donate an organ, and to honor the legacy of the patient.
There are several ways we recognize the legacies of these children and their families, including:
- The observance of moments of honor, small ceremonies during which the gift of the organ donation is acknowledged and celebrated through readings and a blessing or prayer
- Flag ceremonies, at which a Donate Life Flag is displayed and family, Texas Children’s staff and chaplains, and our LifeGift partners gather to tell stories about the patient, let the family touch the flag, share a group reading, and then the flag is then passed around the unit to be signed with messages of support and recognition from Transplant Services staff
- National Donor Sabbath, an annual three-day observance where members of local faith communities participate in services and programs to honor donor families and to educate the public about the need for lifesaving transplants
In addition to these heartfelt moments of acknowledgement and remembrance, Texas Children’s Hospital has begun a new tradition to honor our donor families.
As the sun went down on April 22, Lester and Sue Smith Legacy Tower was illuminated in green and white. The tower was lit each evening for the rest of the week, both in commemoration of National Donate Life Month and Pediatric Transplant Week, and also as a tribute to our donor families. Going forward, the lighting of the tower will serve as yet another way Texas Children’s acknowledges them.
“Nothing we do would be possible without our donor families, and we wanted to find another way to honor them,” said Dr. John Goss, medical director of Transplant Services. “Now when people see Lester and Sue Smith Legacy Tower lit in green and white, they will know there’s a hero here at Texas Children’s who has just given the gift of life.”
About Transplant Services at Texas Children’s
Transplant Services at Texas Children’s was the nation’s largest pediatric transplant program in 2018, performing a remarkable 107 solid organ transplants including the highest volumes of pediatric liver, lung and kidney transplants.
Transplant Services provides a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to care through all aspects of the transplant process, from initial referral to hospitalization and outpatient management. Our team of experts includes physicians and surgical advanced practice providers, transplant coordinators, pediatric ventricular assist device coordinators, perfusionists, child life specialists, dieticians, social workers, financial counselors, pharmacists, inpatient and outpatient nursing and support staff, Perioperative Services, physical and occupational therapists, Radiology, Pathology, our LifeGift partners, and many others.
Our depth of skill and service enables us to offer world-class care for patients, from newborns to young adults, in need of heart, kidney, liver and lung transplants. That expertise has allowed us to successfully treat some cases that other national and international programs might consider untreatable.
Learn more about Transplant Services at Texas Children’s Hospital.