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Pediatric transplant awareness week, organ donation

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Organ donation is often a difficult journey for the people waiting on these life saving gifts. Finding an organ donor for kids is especially hard.

Today is the end of pediatric transplant awareness week, which is a part of “donate life month”.

10-year-old Max Grau and his doctor, Dr. Islam Ghoneim with Ascension St. Vincent.

It has been three years since Grau received his organ donation. Grau’s mother gave her son his kidney donation. “It was the best day of my life and it was good,” Grau said.

Grau’s message to the public is that he wants more people to be organ donors.

“One of the things to be aware of is children when they have chronic illnesses, especially at a young age, it impacts their overall development and their ability to grow and achieve their potential. Time is really of the essence. That is why it is so important that children receive their organ and their life changing gift at such an early time. Rather than dealing with chronic illness on the list. Also, finding an appropriate donor, a matched donor is something that tends to be a little more challenging. Especially when size is a consideration,” Ghoneim said. “You have to have a compatible blood type. You have to be of an appropriate tissue match as well. Size tends to matter mostly with thoracic organs, but in abdominal organs we’re fortunate enough that adults can donate to children, and so there is that tends to make things just a little bit more easier with abdominal organs.”

According to Ghoneim, you can register to become an organ donor here.

You can also register to be a living organ donor with Ascension St. Vincent, and any Bureau of Motor Vehicle.

“It’s very very reaffirming to the greater good that happens with organ donation and the fact that organ donation transcends, age, gender, race. It just unites us in so many ways and definitely helping children at such a young age achieve their potential and not have to deal with chronic illnesses is so amazing,” Ghoneim said.