Montreal mother urges parents to sign kids up for organ donation
Published Tuesday, January 5, 2016 6:50PM EST
At first glance, Samy appears perfectly healthy, but looks can be deceiving.
The 8-year-old suffers from Kawasaki disease, a rare childhood autoimmune disease that can impact the heart. He's already suffered several heart attacks. His mother Meriem Toati lives in constant fear Samy's heart will fail.
Last fall, during open-heart surgery to remove a blood clot, Samy went into cardiac arrest and spent six weeks in a coma.
“I could only see his tears stream down his face. He was frozen,” said Toati.
Toati says the most difficult part was not being able to speak to her son.
“I wanted to answer them, but I couldn’t,” Samy said.
After waiting as long as they could for a new heart, his cardiologist decided on bypass surgery and Samy is off the transplant list, at least for now.
At any given time, some 20 children in Quebec are waiting for an organ donation. Almost half of parents refuse to donate their children’s organs. A single person's organs can save eight lives.
“Accepting organ donation is accepting that someone is dead. So sometimes families say no to organ donation, but in fact they're saying ‘no, I don't want my beloved to be dead,’” said Louis Beaulieu, president of Transplant Quebec. The organization says it's important to talk about the benefits of donating organs before tragedy strikes.
Meriem said she encourages fellow parents to sign the donor card because children just like Samy are waiting for a new lease on life.
“It could happen to anyone,” she said.