Stories about: Donate life

26.2 for three: A transplant nurse’s tribute to her patients

pediatric transplant
Desh and Lucas

Heartbreak Hill: It’s the notorious Boston Marathon landmark that runners both anticipate and dread. But when Deshanthi “Desh” Perera approaches that challenging climb on April 16, she’ll have special motivation propelling her uphill. Perera, a nurse working on the organ transplant inpatient unit of the Pediatric Transplant Center at Boston Children’s Hospital and first-time marathoner, isn’t just running for the glory of a personal best time or the satisfaction of completing the race. She’s running for all of the remarkable patients at Boston Children’s, including three of her own.

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Milestones made possible #becauseofadonor

There are more than 80 children currently waiting for life-saving organ transplants at Boston Children’s Hospital. The Pediatric Transplant Center team is grateful for the donors who give these kids a second chance.

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A life taken. A life given. A life shared.

Kaitlyn, donor, and Hannah, recipient
Kaitlyn and Hannah

When she read the article in the Cape Cod Times about the 11-year-old girl who underwent a life-saving liver transplant, Melissa Dunphe knew.

“Too many pieces fit for it not to be.”

She knew that the child, who was at the same hospital on the same floor on the same day, had to be the one who received her five-year-old daughter Kaitlyn’s liver.

Five years earlier, at eight months old, Kaitlyn was in a car accident that left her without the use of her limbs and unable to breathe on her own.

During her short life, her parents made moments matter.

“She was a very happy child,” her mom Melissa says. “She loved life — going for walks, having her nails painted and going to the beach. “We knew she wouldn’t live long, but I never expected it to be so soon.”

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Jalyn and Sofia: a match made in heaven

Jalyn-IIIn her own special way, Jalyn Francis always goes out of her way to support her friend Sofia. No matter what Sofia is doing, there’s a piece of her friend Jalyn right there with her, helping her as she goes.

Both girls love dancing. Jalyn could find the beat in anything—she could dance to the sounds of car horns blowing in a traffic jam if the mood took her. It’s a trait shared by Sofia, who at five is already taking ballet and tap lessons and was the queen of the dance floor when her parents took her to a family wedding last year.

Although Jalyn could often be a joker with a silly side, she could be shy too. Sometimes a little warming up to the audience was needed before she let her hair down—but after that, look out. She could sing and crack jokes from morning ’til night. And like Jalyn, that carefree spirit gets a hold of Sofia from time to time too. As if taking a cue from Jalyn, Sofia’s a natural conversationalist who loves the spotlight. She will tell joke after joke until everyone in her audience is laughing. (Sometimes the audience is laughing more at Sofia’s performance than her actual material, but either way, Sofia always gets them smiling!)

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