Grady Angeloff remembers his son Riley's big brown eyes and his ability to light up a room. Riley was born prematurely at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and he spent the first 4 months of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit on a ventilator.
Eventually he was well enough to go home but struggled with his health and required ongoing medical treatment. Shortly after celebrating his first birthday, Riley stopped breathing and was rushed to Children's Hospital. A short time later, Riley did not have a heartbeat and he died.
Grady and his wife made the difficult decision to donate their son's heart valves in an effort to save the lives of other children.
Grady says it makes him feel better to know that his son is still going to live not only in his memory but in other children.
"If I could meet the recipients of Riley's donations I would tell them that they are truly blessed with the best thing they could ever have and it's also the best thing that I ever had so take care of that the best you can," he said.
As a blood operations specialist with BloodCenter, Grady knows how important it is to give the gift of life and losing Riley prompted him to join the organ, tissue and eye registry in honor of his son.
"You always think of these things as being somebody else’s problem. But when it happens to you, you want to just raise a flag and make everyone aware," he said.
BloodCenter of Wisconsin encourages you to share life by registering to become an organ, tissue, marrow and eye donor, and by donating blood. Be sure to share your wish to be an organ, tissue and eye donor with your family.
Your decision to donate can be the life-changing difference for patients in need.
Visit www.bcw.edu/sharinglife for more information.