By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Norman resident George Schroeder shares an inseparable bond with his now eight year old son, Christopher. They spend time watching sports, playing basketball and enjoying life together.
After a fragile beginning, Christopher needed a kidney transplant at the age of only two years old. George had the opportunity to donate his kidney to his son, knowing this would change the course of their lives forever.
Christopher was born in 2009 with a heart condition. His doctors initially thought he would need a series of three surgeries to repair his heart, but it was later learned that he would need a heart transplant to survive.
At just seven weeks old, a surgery was performed in which he received a new heart from a generous donor. It saved his life.
Soon after the heart transplant, Christopher’s kidneys failed. His medical team worked diligently to bring him back to the best health possible, while receiving dialysis treatments to keep his kidneys functioning.
At eleven months old, Christopher was able to go home from the hospital for the first time. His parents spent time every evening with a machine that allowed Christopher to receive dialysis at home.
Eventually the doctors recommended that Christopher would need a lifesaving kidney transplant from a living donor in order for him to receive the best match at his young age.
Christopher’s father, George, immediately volunteered and hoped he was a match. However, because Christopher was just an infant, the medical team had to wait to perform the surgery until he was older so he could receive an adult sized kidney.
“God has wired it into me: do good for Christopher. It’s just who we are as fathers,” George said. “Fathers would give and have given much more because of the love they have for their kids.”
As Christopher approached two years old, the doctors suggested that he could receive an adult sized kidney from his father.
“I had a sense of thankfulness and peace after I donated my kidney,” said George.
Today, Christopher is a thriving second grade student, and will turn eight at the end of this year. He has a sunny disposition and a fighter mentality that has served him well and helped him thrive.”
Christopher likes to read, play with hot wheels and recall information about cars.
Since donating his kidney, George lives his life as if he has both.
This experience has dramatically impacted the Schroeder family about the need for organ donors.
LifeShare, a nonprofit, federally designated organ procurement organization (OPO), works closely with five transplant centers and 145 healthcare organizations in Oklahoma to facilitate the recovery of organs and tissue for transplant purposes.
In 2017, 183 Oklahomans gave the gift of life by becoming an organ donor saving 481 lives.
The need for transplant is growing, and there are approximately 700 Oklahomans currently waiting on a lifesaving transplant and more than 115,000 nationwide. Thousands more are in need of tissue and corneal transplants to restore mobility and sight.
Without the generous gift of more than 30,000 donors in the United States each year, many would still be waiting for that much needed lifesaving donation. To register to become an organ, eye and tissue donor, visit LifeShareRegistry.org.
For more information, visit lifeshare.org.