Critical need for pediatric organ donors


BLOOMFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — There are children on the list of patients waiting for a donated organ, but the number of young donors is far less, compared to adults who are willing to donate.

Organ donation is not an easy decision for many adults and when it comes to children, parents don’t often think about donating a child’s organs in their time of grief.

Cory Garwacki was not expected to live more than a few days after he was born.

“Cory was born with short gut syndrome which meant he was missing most of his intestine,” said his mother, Elizabeth Garwacki.

Over and over again, he defied the odds of surviving.

“He had permanent intravenous lines in his body where he would get I-V solutions and give him the nutrition that he needed,” said Garwacki.

It prevented Cory from thriving and growing the way he should have. At 20-years-old, he underwent a five organ transplant. A gift from a family of a 14-year-old boy. A heartfelt thanks from his mother.

“It gives somebody else,” she said, “A chance to realize their dreams and it gives another family a chance to have more time with someone they love.”

Families like the Garwackis face tough challenges with fewer young organ donors.

“You can’t take an adult heart and put it into a pediatric recipient. It’s gotta be a pediatric size heart,” said Chas Mackenzie with LifeChoice Donor Services.

Underscoring he says, what more parents should think about, “How would I honor my loved one if it’s a child, How would I honor my loved one?”

Cory was able to graduate from college with a communications degree and volunteered tirelessly.

“It allowed him to experience so many things that he wouldn’t have been able to do. He was able to be at his sister’s wedding which was huge for him,” said Garwacki.

Cory died last year at 27-years-old, short of realizing his dream of establishing a foundation to raise money for scholarships and awareness for donating life.

Inspired to carry on, his family created the Cory J. Garwacki Foundation and is working with LifeChoice so that other families can see how one unselfish decision transforms another.

For more information on organ donation – log onto www.lifechoiceopo.org or call 860-286-3120.

For more information on the Cory J. Garwacki Foundation – go to www.cjgfoundation.com

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