Guest Commentary: Donating organs saves lives

Denver Post | Lisa Vallejos

Eric Lowe, an organ recovery specialist for the Donor Alliance in Denver, places a kidney in a jar wrapped in plastic and places it in a cardboard box for transport to a recipient who is waiting in Virginia in August 2014. (Kathryn Scott Osler, The Denver Post)

Pregnant with our first child, I learned that my unborn son would be born with a heart defect called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and would need a heart transplant immediately following his birth in order to survive. Not knowing what this meant, I struggled to make sense of all that was happening, but was determined to do the very best for my baby.

On the day Gabriel Gideon (Gideon means "mighty warrior"), decided to come into the world, he appeared big and strong and for the start of our new family, those first few moments were bliss. But 36 hours later, Gabriel was taken to Children's Hospital Colorado and, within 24 hours of that, Gabriel was listed on the UNOS transplant list. I was told that the wait for a heart could be anywhere from three to six months, and prepared myself for the duration.

Gabriel received his new heart just 13 days after coming into the world. When his new heart started beating on its own, there were literal shouts of joy in the waiting room. Today, Gabriel is thriving and living life to its fullest as every 8-year-old knows how to do. Continue reading