Throughout Gift of Hope’s 30-year history, it has held steadfast to its vision that every opportunity for donation is successful in order to achieve its mission to save the lives of as many people as possible through organ and tissue donation. The organization and its partners work diligently to make donation happen for donors and their families, but sometimes donation is not possible. In these instances, challenges turn into opportunities.
In 2016, Chicago’s Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital and Gift of Hope recognized the need to collectively rebuild and strengt
hen the shared donation process involving pediatric donors. This undertaking required trust, commitment, hard work and dedication on the parts of both organizations. But what or who was the impetus for this realization and important collaboration?
It was a 10-year-old boy named Aidan Shea, who passed away on Dec. 10, 2015. He became the catalyst for change that forged a strong partnership between the two organizations, a partnership that continues to help honor the decisions of pediatric donor families and save lives through organ and tissue donation.
Aidan was born on Oct. 29, 2005, and came into the world with a built-in best friend, his twin brother Connor. “We were desperate for a baby, and then we had twins, which was even better,” said Theresa Shea, Aidan’s mother. “We were super excited.”
In an unexpected turn of events, Theresa became pregnant almost immediately after giving birth to the twins, and so two became three — Aidan, Connor and Liam. Theresa and her husband, Kevin, moved their new family to a home in a Chicago suburb, and life for the Sheas was a whirlwind of adventures and joy. Ten years later, they would find themselves in the midst of every parent’s worst nightmare.