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.”


  1. I couldn't even bring myself to say the family prayer after reading this. I had to have Travis take my place. I couldn't pull myself together emotionally. What a beautiful little girl, what a generous family, what a courageous father. I am in awe of the goodness in people; the Dejoode family is truly exceptional. Your little man and your wonderful family couldn't be a more perfect and grateful recipient.

  2. Wow what a tragic accident and an incredible life saving story. This life blows my mind sometimes. It was so nice to meet you this past weekend at heart camp. I'm so glad Landen is doing so well. What a strong little guy! The donor family sounds amazing. I'm so glad you get to develop such a strong relationship. What a great way to live out the legacy of such sweet kids.