Families of children who've donated organs honored - KCTV5

Families of children who've donated organs honored

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Saturday, a handful of families shared their stores of survival and heartbreak, but, most of all, gratitude as part of the Family Circle Ceremony at Children's Mercy Hospital.

In a room nestled on the second floor of the hospital were families of organ donors and recipients with their emotions running high.

"(It's emotional) To be in the midst of a recipient, to see the actual family, but to hear how grateful and to hear their story is life-changing," Michele Shanahan-DeMoss said.

Shanahan-DeMoss is the mother of 11-year-old Blair Shanahan Lane, was killed July 5, 2011, after being struck by a stray bullet that was fired into the air as celebration some distance from her home.

She said the hardest part is also the most comforting – telling her daughter's story.

"Blair donated six organs and she saved five lives," Shanahan-DeMoss said. "She donated her heart - a boy of 17 has her heart, he's in the Midwest. Her lungs went to a 13-year-old. Her right kidney went to a boy that entered college this fall, he's 18. Her left kidney and her pancreas are with a man of 56 and her liver is with a mother (age 46) of three."

The Family Circle Ceremony is a celebration of life that the people at Children's Mercy put on every year and, every year, it's held close to Valentine's Day – a day symbolic of love and hope, a day that mirrors the purpose of the gathering.

The event is also close to Shanahan-DeMoss' heart. She said she can't wait to hear her daughter's heartbeat in the young man who received it. She said she even got her stethoscope ready.

"I received a stethoscope for Christmas and I've actually had several nurses say, ‘there's a better heart stethoscope you need.' I just am eager," she said.

While the young man who received Blair's heart didn't attend Saturday's event, her mother said she's eagerly waiting for the day she gets to meet him.

"I say Blair's heartbeat. It is in Andrew's body but, to know we share DNA, is incredible," Shanahan-DeMoss said.

Sharing stories was only part of the morning of those who attended. Families received red roses as each of their loves ones names were called by the chaplain – some families of donors and recipients hugged one another.

Shanahan-DeMoss said she's been in contact with three of the recipients or her daughter's organs and hopes to meet Andrews, the young man who received her daughter's heart, sometime soon. The first thing on her list to check off when she meets him is to listen to his heartbeat.

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