Organ donor families share stories of triumph and loss

Photo provided by Sara Blakemore
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POSTED: Thursday, September 26, 2013 - 6:33pm

UPDATED: Friday, September 27, 2013 - 1:33pm

Smith McRea runs and jumps with the rest of his pre-k class. It's hard to imagine now, but when he was born, doctors didn't think he would make it to his first birthday.

"They tried to extend his life at one point, but it really wasn't working. His liver was shutting down pretty much from the time he was diagnosed with cirrhosis, so we knew he'd have to have a liver transplant," recalled Adriane McRae, Smith’s mother.

With just six months left to live, doctors told his mother Adriane, they had a new liver for her little boy just in time to save him.

"(I had) Mixed emotions definitely. Hope and excitement for him and his life, but at the same time we were very close to being that family that lost our son, so we felt a connection with that family, but that was the only way for him to have life," explained McRae

Now the McRae family spends their time educating about organ donation. They volunteer with the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency, or LOPA for short, in the hopes it will encourage others to be donors.

"Another reason we volunteer and donate our time with LOPA is because we want him to know and appreciate this wonderful gift that he's received and make sure that it's instilled in him forever," said McRae.

Smith's life-saving transplant wouldn't have been possible if it weren't for people like Dougie Blakemore.

"My brother passed away when I was seven years old from a head trauma, and through that my parents decided that he was going to become an organ donor and bring as much positive light to the situation as possible," explained Sara Blakemore.

Now a Senior at LSU, Blakemore also works with LOPA and will be running in their annual 5k next Saturday with her team 'Dougie's Dinosaurs,' a tribute to her little brother's favorite animal.

"Do it for the greater good. Make light of any dark situation. It's such a morbid thing saying that, 'if I die,' but in the end you have to think about others and you have to be willing to be part of a bigger picture," added Blakemore.

The annual LOPA 5k run and educational event will be held October 5, Click here to find out more information about how you can get involved.

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