A tragedy is the only way to describe the death of a child. But Granger Smith and his wife are finding comfort in the fact that after their three-year-old son River died, his organs gave two others a chance to live.
“Never in a million years did I think I would be making that decision for my baby,” Amber Smith wrote on Instagram about the decision to donate River’s organs.
River died following a tragic drowning accident in June. Granger and Amber Smith discussed what happened in a video they shared on YouTube.
Smith went on to recount the hours after doctors told them River had “0% chance of brain recovery (yes 0, not 10 or 1%, 0).”
“After [the] shock and reality set in, I thought, how can we bury our sweet baby and not try to help others?” Amber wrote. “His body is perfect, his organs are perfect, we had to do something. There are so many people waiting for an organ to save their lives.”
114,000 Americans are on the waiting list for an organ transplant.
Amber says on the way to the operating room — called the “Walk of Honor” for organ donation patients — she told the staff River liked to go fast.
“So to honor him, they pushed him down that hall faster than they had ever pushed anyone.”
A little over a month later, we know River’s tragic death wasn’t the end of his life.
“We got the letter that our tiny, red-headed hero gave life to 2 adults,” Amber wrote. “A 49 year old woman and a 53 year old man.”
The moment was bittersweet for River’s parents.
“I cried when we opened it,” Amber admitted. “Cried out of sadness & cried out of love. I’m so proud to be River’s mama and I’m so grateful to God that he gave him to us for those incredible 3 years.”
“I pray these 2 recipients live healthy, joy filled, full throttle lives just like Riv.”
It’s one of the most admirable decisions families of patients, like Granger and Amber Smith, can make. To push through the shock and pain of losing their child and choose to give life to others is one of the greatest gifts.