Author: Emily Williams

6 ways to celebrate National Donate Life Month

Each year, during the month of April, National Donate Life Month draws attention to those who have saved and healed lives through the gift of organ, eye and tissue donation. Here are six simple ways to participate, celebrate and educate.

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Become an organ donor.

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Four moving forward, following living donation

Many children wait months — and sometimes years — for a transplant, but thanks to the generosity of living donors, some kids don’t have to wait. Read about the lives and futures of four children saved by living donation.

Helping Sloan live up to her name

Without Lt. Steve Tenney, 7-month-old Sloan wouldn’t be nursing, beginning to roll over on her own or meeting other milestones. “I did what anyone would have done,” says Tenney, who donated a piece of his liver when Sloan was only 5 months old.

“Sloan means ‘warrior,’” her mom, Sarah says. “We didn’t think she’d need to be a warrior at such a young age — but she showed us she is.” Read more about Sloan’s liver transplant.

Sloan after her liver transplant pictured next to her living donor police lieutenant Steve Tenney

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Police save lives every day, just not this way — a liver for Sloan

Sloan after her liver transplant pictured next to her living donor, police lieutenant Steve Tenney
Sloan and Lt. Tenney

A police officer’s job is all about action and reaction.

“We see something, react to it and, typically, it’s over quickly,” says Lt. Steve Tenney of the Keene, New Hampshire, Police Department.

But on the morning of Sept. 8, while Steve lay in a hospital bed at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts, action/reaction wasn’t part of the equation. This time, there was time to think. Even so, the decision to donate a piece of his liver to save Sloan — a baby he’d never even met — was made without hesitation.

“I did what anyone would have done,” he says.

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The space between heartache and happiness: Two sons with adrenoleukodystrophy

Paul and Liliana Rojas with their sons, Brandon and Brian, both of whom have adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD).
The Rojas family at a recent visit to Boston Children’s.

When Paul and Liliana Rojas talk about their life, they describe it in one of two ways — the way it was before their sons, 10-year-old Brandon and 7-year-old Brian, were diagnosed with ALD, and the way it is after. Their story is one of heartbreak — but also hope, in the form of a new clinical trial.

Learn more about the results of the clinical trial, recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, that halted the progression of Brian’s ALD.

ALD is short for adrenoleukodystrophy, a debilitating brain disease that simply goes by its initials.

“Life before ALD was pure happiness without worries,” Paul says. “It was anything a parent could wish for — two boys with no medical issues, active, athletic, the healthiest boys ever.”

The two were inseparable. They played sports together in their hometown of Dover Plains, New York; idolized superheroes; danced like crazy; and dreamed of someday inventing video games. Brian was Brandon’s shadow.

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