Wall Of Life - Lauren - Fifty Lives

Tissue Donor

When Lauren was born we had no idea how our life was going to change. I know every new parent says that but ours was different. At 6 months we were concerned that Lauren was not meeting her developmental milestones. We started therapies with her. She was going through all kinds of medical testing. And it wasn't until she was 10 years old that we finally got a diagnosis. Even though a treatment was available it proved to be unsuccessful in older children - it can be compared to the movie Lorenzo's Oil. With that said, Lauren was our life. She never walked or talked but she loved to swing, she played the keyboard with purpose and would laugh at a sneeze. We would make real fools of ourselves doing things to make her laugh. When Lauren laughed she lit up the room and made everyone laugh which in turn made her laugh more. She would often get the hiccups after a 'laughing party' making us laugh more and it would get going all over again.

When Lauren was 13½ she passed away. We had not given donation any thought before this but in that moment we chose to donate her organs and tissue. Besides her kidneys, Lauren donated her eyes and heart valves. We've heard from one of the heart valve recipient's mom. She wrote that her daughter at 11 months old received one of Lauren's heart valves and 6 months later she was a very active little girl. We have not met the family but we hope to one day.

We have a whole different view of donation now. I can't imagine the loss of a child without knowing that something good came of it, her donated organs/tissues. We now volunteer for our local OPO and Lauren's legacy lives on in the lives she saved and in our efforts to spread the word in hopes to get the public educated on donation and get them registered as organ/tissue donors.

At Lauren's graveside we had a butterfly release. That is representative of her life from earth into heaven. On earth she was trapped in a body that didn't work.Then upon death she gained life and became that beautiful butterfly free to fly. We miss her deeply but would not take that new life away from her.

Gary & Linda - Lauren's parents