Giving birth can be unpredictable. It’s something that humans have been doing literally since the beginning of our time. But there are still plenty of opportunities for complications to occur. For Kathleen Thorson, those complications started less than a week after giving birth to her fourth child, Teddy.
Kathleen suffered from an intracerebral hemorrhage, which required a lot of surgeries. Unfortunately, doctors weren’t able to save her. The news was devastating for her family — nobody could have predicted that this would happen during such a joyous time.
“Kathleen’s condition deteriorated to a point that she could no longer survive,” Richard Stubbs, the organizer of her GoFundMe campaign, wrote. “As was her wish, we are doing everything we can for her to be the prayed-for miracle of life for certain others in need of organ donations.”
That was the one thing that made this tragedy somewhat beautiful. Kathleen was an organ donor and was able to donate 12 of her organs to people in need. Her death ultimately brought life to others. Often, this gift can be a healing way for families to make peace with the situation.
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The money gathered from the GoFundMe campaign is going to help support Kathleen’s husband, Jesse. He and his four children have had their lives turned upside down by the tragedy, and friends and family knew they’d need a little help. “With this money, Jesse will be able to pay important bills, cover much of the medical costs and spend more time with his children while he and his children navigate this new path,” Richard wrote.
Kristen Bell was especially touched by Kathleen’s story. Her company, Hello Bello, donated a free year of diapers and wipes to the Thorson family. As parents know, these things can be incredibly expensive — so having one last thing to worry about will be helpful for Jesse.
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While the pain of losing a loved one is never easy, especially for children, at least they can be comfortable knowing that their mother was truly a hero. “The nurse told Jesse the chances that someone is a candidate of this magnitude is less than 1 in a million,” wrote Richard. “But anyone who knew Kathleen already knew that.”
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It’s nice knowing that parts of Kathleen will live on through others. Her love and good spirit will always be seen in her children, and the people who thought they’d be losing their lives now have a second chance to live through Kathleen’s generosity. This is one of the many reasons why organ donation is so important.
— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) November 5, 2015
As of July 2019, over 113,000 people are on a list waiting for an organ donor. That includes men, women, and children. Every day, 20 people reportedly die while waiting for organs. Someone new is added to the list every 10 minutes. It’s sad to put it in numbers, but it’s the best way to explain how vital organ donation is.
There are approximately 6000 people waiting for an organ donor, of these around 5000 need a kidney. I’ve been waiting 4 years 😊https://t.co/2YwoiRAymd#akidney4simran#blessourrohan#NareshInNeed#hope4anaya
Sue Moore or Jessica Bate
— akidney4simran (@akidney4simran) November 29, 2019
Prior to Kathleen’s situation, it was stated that one donor could save up to eight lives, through heart, lungs, pancreas, intestines, kidneys, and liver. The fact that she saved 12 is monumental. As she was a warm and giving wife and mother, it was almost in her character to go above and beyond, even after her untimely passing.
— Jessica Williams (@jessicaslocum3) January 21, 2020
The most uplifting donation stories come from kids. Some babies need an emergency transplant shortly after they’re born. If the organ is available and viable, it can change the course of their entire life. One story is Blake, a heart recipient from Texas who’s currently a teenager.
Today in Science History: In 1987, a baby boy, just three hours old, received the first successful newborn organ transplant. The doctors knew before birth that he had a fatal heart defect and delivered him early when a donor heart became available. pic.twitter.com/WZJXi2Jzwy
— Maryland Science Ctr (@MDScienceCenter) October 16, 2019
Blake was only 16 days old when his transplant occurred. His parents, Robin and Frank, were aware that this was a possibility prior to his birth. During a prenatal ultrasound, a fatal heart defect was found, meaning that he’d need help immediately. It’s horrifying news for any parent to hear.
His parents didn’t know if a donor would be available — and if one was, it would be due to similarly tragic circumstances. By the 16th day, they were able to receive a heart from a 15-month-old who was 15 pounds. It was a perfect match, and that young donor gave Blake the chance to thrive.His parents didn’t know if a donor would be available — and if one was, it would be due to similarly tragic circumstances. By the 16th day, they were able to receive a heart from a 15-month-old who was 15 pounds. It was a perfect match, and that young donor gave Blake the chance to thrive.
Organ Donors are important!
— Steffi 💫 (@xLilWonderWoman) May 30, 2013
While it doesn’t openly affect his life now, Blake is still fully aware of the second chance he was given — and he has no problem talking about it with his friends. “I know I have someone else’s heart inside of me,” he said. “Someone was generous enough to give me a second chance to live.”
Organ donation can also change someone’s path. The story of Daisy from Maryland is tragic, but it has an uplifting ending. She needed open heart surgery at the age of 17. While that surgery was a success, doctors had no clue that she was also suffering a brain aneurysm. The aneurysm ruptured, leaving Daisy brain-dead.