Toddler Death Highlights Need for Pediatric Organ Donation

pediatric organ donation for kids

You may remember back in 2016 a small young boy was tragically attacked and killed by a wild alligator at Disney World. His name was Lane Thomas Graves and he was only 2 years old and on the shore of the lagoon in the park watching a movie and playing with his family. This sudden and shocking incident never went to trial and seemed to disappear from the news fairly quickly. However, what has grown out Lane’s death is remarkable. Lane’s parents started the The Lane Thomas Foundation to honor Lane and to “support families in crisis the way others have supported them” by bringing awareness to the need for pediatric organs for transplants.


April 18-24 Is National Pediatric Transplant Week

“April 18-24 is National Pediatric Transplant Week and sadly with the more than 100,000 people waiting for organ transplants, over 2,000 children wait for organs, according to the federal Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.  We never want to think about the loss of our children; it is the hardest situation to ever imagine. But, to save other children’s lives, it is very important that parents, health-care professionals, and educators learn to have open conversations about the benefits of pediatric organ donations. Over 1,000 children a year die in fatal accidents or by illness. These children have the potential to be organ donors and save the lives of other children, ”  says The Lane Thomas Foundation website.


What You Can Do

No one ever expects to be in the position of organ donor or recipient. Putting a Medical Power of Attorney and Living Will in place outlining your wishes for yourself and your children not only helps others, but may help your loved ones know what to do during their darkest days. It may bring relief and comfort to have these wishes memorialized despite it being a nearly unthinkable situation. We suggest the following steps:

  • Join approximately 3.3 million on Donate Life Arizona and register. The site is not only a wealth of information, but you can register so that in the event of your death, doctors and then your family know your intention to donate.
  • Show you are an organ donor on your Arizona Driver’s License. Say yes to being a donor and your driver’s license, MVD record and the above registry will reflect this choice so others will be aware.
  • Create a Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will reflecting your choices for yourself and your minor children.
  • Tell family and friends about your choice to donate.


The foundation also recommends the following:

SHARE REAL FACTS AND DISCOVER OPTIONS. Sharing the real facts and many options for organ donation helps people know their choices. More than 100 children die each year waiting for a transplant while eight lives can be saved from a single organ donor.

COMMIT TO CREATING AWARENESS. When families make a commitment to discuss and build a stronger awareness of pediatric organ donation in advance of a tragedy, the likelihood of donation is greatly increased. 

DECIDE BEFORE A TRAGEDY STRIKES. Most child donors are identified by organ procurement organizations who are notified by health-care professionals, but not all hospitals have trained staff to have difficult conversations with grieving parents. The best solution is for parents to make the decision to donate before tragedy strikes. 


You can read more about organ donation here on the blog. You can also learn more about making healthcare decisions here or feel free to call me for a free consultation so your legacy reflects your wishes and that of your loved ones.