Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Donor Family

A couple days of after Landen's transplant, Joe and I wrote a thank you letter to our donor family. To our amazement and happiness, weeks later we received a letter back from the donor family. It was an amazing letter telling us about who this wonderful gift came from. Since then we have been in contact with our donor family via email. This last week our donors father, Troy, gave me permission to link our families together through the blog. We are in awe of this amazing family. They have been through so much and through it all they have been willing to share there lives with us. We are so grateful for there willingness to first donate, but also keep in touch with us. I cannot image all they have gone through and will go through, but we thank them for letting us know who Landen's heart was from.

Landen's new heart, his heart of a lamb, is from a 5 month old baby girl named Claire DeJoode. On Thursday, May 6th at 3:30pm, while Troy was at work a pick-up truck blew threw a stop sign and T-boned the family mini-van. The tragic accident left the mother in a coma, the 3-year old boy hospitalized with neck and ankle injuries, and the 5-year old boy Carson and 5-month old baby girl Clarie hospitalized with head and neck injuries. That night a decision had to be made about Carson and the next morning for Claire. Troy said "that regardless of the hospital's medical technology or my own willingness to do anything, go anywhere and spend everything I had, he (Carson) would die. The only question was what his legacy would be." Troy signed off for both Carson and Claire to be donors. Through these donations, many people, Landen among them, were saved.

Among the recipients:

A 5-month-old boy received Carson's liver.

A 52-year-old mother who has been undergoing dialysis three times a week since November 2007 received Carson's left kidney.

A 50-year-old mother of six who has been in dialysis for more than two years received his right kidney.

Two children received Carson's heart valves.

An 8-year-old girl and 40-year-old man received Carson's corneas.

A 3-month-old boy who was in end-stage heart failure received Claire's heart.

An 11-month-old boy received Claire's liver.

A 51-year-old mother received Claire's kidneys.

Read More:

I will never forget in the first letter we received from Claire's father, Troy, he wrote about the organ donations talking about his 5 year old son Carson, "It was not an easy decision but I came to realize that this was his chance, in death, to be the hero that, in life, he knew himself to be." These two kids along with their parents and countless others that made this transplant possible are heroes and will never be forgotten. We would love others to read their story and see the little girl that is now part of my son.

The end of Troy's letter still brings me to tears. He wrote "The heart that Claire gave is Landen's now...I would encourage you to never feel guilty for receiving our daughter's gift. It comes with no strings attached. Lion needed only to ask for it. We hope that he will use it to the fullest that he can for as long as he can. We ask only that he use it to the best of his ability." We will take that promise. He will and we will cherish every moment of it. Our prayers will forever be with the DeJoode family as our lives are now connected through this tragic accident.

To read Carson and Claire's story to go these links: and search for DeJoode, or google “Heather DeJoode” or “Claire DeJoode.”

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Our Little Lamb

As most of you know when Lando recieved his new heart last year on Mother's day, the donor family also sent a stuffed animal...a little lamb. In rememberance of our donor our kids made a little lamb at build a bear. We decided that each year we would do this and give the stuffed animal to someone who was in need of hope. This little lamb gave us so much hope. That night that we recieved the lamb, it gave us strength to get through the rest of Lando's 6 hour surgery and it gives us hope each day we see it. This year we gave it to a family friend who had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. She is an amazing person. She came in visited us all the way from California between chemo treatments when Lando was still in the NICU. She gave us so much hope while she was here that week. Our family frind, Brenda, unfortunetly lost the battle with cancer one month later. Her lamb that we sent her was on her dresser that whole time and also was at the memorial. Brenda we love you and we are glad that even for that week, our little lamb gave you hope.