You don’t need to wear spandex, see through walls, or have a billion-dollar suit of armor to be a superhero. All you need to do is become an organ donor.
An Honorable Gesture For An Honorable Child
When doctors learned that terminally ill 11-year-old Liang Yaoyi of China wanted to donate his organs, they bowed. Yaoyi had been diagnosed with brain cancer when he was nine, and when it came time to make end-of-life decisions, he told his mother he wanted to donate his organs. After he passed away, doctors successfully transplanted his kidneys and liver.
This image of the doctors bowing has been shared around the world, and is sure to hit you right in the heart...which can be donated. [Photo Source: Imgur]
Three For Three
By donating his organs, young Declan Hodgson saved three lives after he passed away in 2013. Hodgson was born with congenital heart disease and died during an operation. He and his parents made the decision to donate his organs and in doing so became a hero to a woman in her 40s (kidney and pancreas), another woman in her 20s (kidney), and a teenage boy (liver). Every year, the woman who received the pancreas and kidney sends a thank you letter to the family.
When Courtney Haynes Harris died at the age of 26, little did she know she would wind up saving and helping the lives of a 100 people through organ and tissue donation. Harris was born with hydrocephalus -- a buildup of fluid in the brain -- which was kept at bay with a shunt for most of her life. After she passed away her organs and tissue were sent to needy patients, including a 14-year-old girl with cystic fibrosis, who considers Harris her guardian angel.
Not only did 15-year-old Harry James Kirkham save three lives by donating his organs after he was struck by a car, his sacrifice inspired others. “I have had many of Harry’s friends join the NHS Organ Donor Register since Harry donated,” his mom said. Spreading the word on organ donation can be just as important as donating the organs themselves.
The Best Grandson Ever
Donating your organs can help strangers, but also those closest to you. Cam’Ron Matthews died suddenly on the football field in Alto, TX. Seven of his organs were donated and one of the people whose life was saved was Matthew’s own grandfather. In a statement, the family said, “The number of lives he has touched is ongoing. Being an organ donor allowed his family more time to say goodbye to their son.”
The Eyes Have It
It’s wrong to think that older and sick individuals cannot donate organs. Carrie’s husband’s health deteriorated late in life but he still wanted to help others. While he was unable to donate his heart or lungs after he passed away, he could still donate his corneas, thus proving that heroes come in all ages.
A Beautiful Baby
At 74-minutes-old, Hope Lee became Britain's youngest organ donor. Hope was diagnosed with Anencephaly while still in the womb, a condition which prevents the skull and brain from developing. Knowing she wouldn’t make it, the parents made the decision to donate her organs. Hope’s kidneys and liver cells were successfully donated to needy patients, and the act of selflessness resulted in Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron writing the parents a letter commending their courage and their daughter’s gifts.
You can never have enough organ donation awareness, especially in Japan where only 91 deceased donors gave organs in 2015. To help get the word out, a Japanese company is teaching children about organ donation by fixing old toys. By adding new limbs (and dragon wings!) to seemingly “broken” toys, the new creatures become even more magical and an important message about helping others is passed along to future generations.
Stand At Attention
It’s too easy to make a joke about the first U.S. penis transplant that occurred in 2016, but the anonymous donor is a real hero who’s helping a very real problem. According to the Military Times, 1,367 male service members survived with genitourinary injuries between 2001 and 2013, but until now, survival often meant suffering psychological damage, urinary difficulty, sexual performance difficulty, and the inability to conceive a child. Thomas Manning of Halifax, MA is the first recipient of a penis transplant, and doctors are optimistic that he will be able to function perfectly.
A Breath Of Fresh Air
One of the greatest moments of a transplant story occurs when a donor’s mother meets the recipient of a daughter’s organs. That’s what happened when Jane Moffat placed her hand on Lisa Shrive and felt her deceased daughter’s lung breathing new life. Moffat’s daughter Rhona died at the age of 33 from a brain hemorrhage, and her lungs were given to Shrive who suffered from a rare and life-threatening lung disorder. Shrive and Moffat began corresponding after the procedure and arranged for an emotional and unforgettable meeting. Moffat said of the meeting, “I put my hands on to her chest and I could feel her chest moving up and down with every breath she took with Rhona’s lungs, and I know it had only been made possible because of Rhona.”