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How to Save a Life

Ciona D. Rouse

Twenty-two-year-old Meredith Hinton doesn’t know what to do when people call her a superhero. “I feel like I was doing something I was supposed to do, not something extraordinary,” says Meredith. Without a cape or a catchy hero moniker, Meredith rescued the life of baby Lucas Fox in true hero fashion—all by following God’s call.

In December 2014, Amber Brunell of Pennsylvania wrote a “Dear Santa” letter to the local newspaper on behalf of her baby boy, Lucas, who needed a new liver. The nine-month-old baby had been in and out of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia since birth. At three months old, Lucas was diagnosed with a rare life-threatening liver disease. He was on the liver donor list but had not received an organ donor match.

Meredith, a 2014 graduate of Delaware Valley University, read the letter in the newspaper. She had known the baby’s family through church but wasn’t aware of his need for an organ donation. The article said that organ donation for Lucas required a certain blood type, body type, and age range that Meredith fit completely. Because it was a liver, the transplant donor had to know the family as well. Meredith considered being a donor but soon let fear and logistics overwhelm her.

The next Sunday, someone mentioned baby Lucas among the prayer requests at church. During that time, “God told me, ‘You have to do this,’” Meredith says, explaining that she heard God speak to her clearly and audibly for the first time in her life.

That evening, Meredith walked into the kitchen and told her parents. They dropped everything they were doing, her mother in tears and her father asking if she was sure. Proud of her courage, they committed to support her decision.

Lucas2 8880When she was confirmed as a donor match, Meredith met with the medical team. The risks sounded scary, says Meredith, “but I knew that since God was telling me to do this, God was going to see me through it.”

On January 8, 2015, Meredith went into surgery in Philadelphia. The doctors took one-third of her liver and transplanted it into Lucas. She went home a week after surgery and spent the first two months sleeping in a recliner to avoid sleeping on her stomach. She wasn’t allowed to work for six to eight weeks and couldn’t lift more than three pounds.

The recovery was hard, but Meredith knows it was worth it. Months later, little Lucas went home from the hospital after spending most of his life there, finally getting his chance to live fully. “To see him out of the hospital and at home getting a chance to be a normal child—that makes me feel like I did something!” Meredith says.

 

DIG DEEPER

Meredith donated her liver because she felt a deep calling to participate in saving a life. She also realizes that this decision is not to be taken lightly. To help you learn more about organ donation, Meredith offers some of her discoveries:

  • She urges everyone to consider being an organ donor of some kind. Checking the box on your driver’s license approves donation after your death.
  • A lot of organ donation centers require you to be a relative, coworker, or friend of the candidate, though some accept altruistic donors who do not know the person they are helping. Contact a transplant center near you to learn more about being a live donor.
  • A liver regenerates after you’ve donated one-third of it. However, because liver donations include an artery, vein, and bile duct, liver donors are not eligible to donate their liver again.

 

Follow Baby Lucas updates on Facebook. Learn more about organ donation at the American Transplant Foundation and Gift of Life Donor Program.

 

Ciona D. Rouse is a poet and freelance writer living in Nashville, Tennessee. She has checked YES on her license to be an organ donor.

—from devozine (November/December 2015). Copyright © 2015 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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