9-Year-Old Waits For Organ Donations That Could Save His Life

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UPDATED: Friday April 11, 2014 6:37 PM

It's easy to take your body and your health for granted, until it fails you.

A Galloway third-grader has never had that luxury.

Nine-year-old Sam Williams has been fighting for survival since birth.

Now, he's waiting on an organ donation to save his life.

Watching 9-year-old Sam Williams on a playground, you'd never know he's not well, until you hear his labored breath.

"His lungs now have issues,” said his mother Mallory Williams. “He can't do the oxygen exchange properly. So, he gets worn out pretty easily."

Sam's struggle has been life-long. He was born with his intestines outside of his body.
           
"Complications just arose from that - caused his liver to fail when he was a baby,” his mother said. “So he got a liver transplant in 2005."

Last year, his health began failing again.

The news from doctors was not good. Sam would have to go back on the transplant list.

"Waiting for a new liver, small bowel and pancreas,” Mallory said. “That way he can get his third chance at life…that’s the only option we have right now.”

Medical advances have created machines that can temporarily replace the function of the heart and kidneys, but there is no alternative to a healthy functioning liver.

As a result, nearly 1,500 people last year died waiting for a liver transplant.

"It's the worst case scenario. It's terrible,” said Sam’s father.

“It's heartbreaking to hear," said Mallory. "You just wait. There's nothing you can really do."

Sam knows the situation and the stakes.

"The hardest part I think is...just like waiting,” the 9 year old said. “Because every time I hear that normal ringtone on Mom & Dad's phone, I'm like, ‘I want to get it over with. Please be.’"

But don't think his challenges have broken his spirit.

Asked to describe himself, he replied with one word: “Awesome!”

And his classmates at Brown Elementary in Hilliard agree.

They recently surprised him with a video titled "Sam is Brave".

His family hopes soon, he can stop being brave and just be a boy.

Sam is one of 54 Ohio children currently on the transplant waiting list.

April is Donate Life Month, and Friday night Lifeline of Ohio will share the stories of Sam and others at a candlelight ceremony honoring donors.

For more information on how to register as a donor go to Lifeline of Ohio.

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