What a beautiful family. Granger Smith‘s wife Amber Smith revealed on July 13 that there is a silver lining to their 3-year-old son River’s tragic death. In the wake of his passing, the family decided to donate his organs, and just one month later he has already saved two lives.
“We got the letter that our tiny, red-headed hero gave life to two adults,” Amber wrote on Instagram beside a photo of her sweet son. “A 49-year-old woman and a 53-year-old man. I cried when we opened it. Cried out of sadness & cried out of love. I’m so proud to be River’s mama and I’m so grateful to God that he gave him to us for those incredible 3 years.”
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I have to deliver unthinkable news. We’ve lost our youngest son, River Kelly Smith. Following a tragic accident, and despite doctor’s best efforts, he was unable to be revived. Amber and I made the decision to say our last goodbyes and donate his organs so that other children will be given a second chance at life. Our family is devastated and heartbroken, but we take solace in knowing he is with his Heavenly Father. Riv was special. Everyone that met him knew that immediately. The joy he brought to our lives cannot be expressed and his light will be forever in our hearts. If there are words to say more, I cannot find them in this moment. Love the ones close to you. There has never been a more difficult moment for us than this. . . In lieu of flowers or gifts, please send donations to Dell Children’s Medical Center in River’s name. The doctors, nurses and staff have been incredible.
Amber wished the best for the two people that now shared a part of River, calling it the “hardest, yet easiest, decision” she and Granger have ever made. “There are over 113,000 people waiting for transplants & 20 people die each day waiting. Go to OrganDonor.gov to see how you can help give life as well. ❤️”
The emotional post also gave fans some more insight into what happened in the hours and days following River’s drowning incident. “When 3 different neuro specialists told us that River had 0% chance of brain recovery (yes 0, not 10 or 1%, 0) after shock and reality set in, I thought, how can we bury our sweet baby and not try to help others? His body is perfect, his organs are perfect, we had to do something.”
Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy to donate as it may sound. Amber said doctors told her finding recipients could take days, and it was a painful thought to imagine her son’s “earthly body being pumped full of all the medicines for 3 or more days while they searched.”
Amber explained that doctors tried to move as fast as possible, but that the organs needed to be measured physically before they could find a match, which meant River needed to be operated on. “I spent the night laying in bed with him, crying and talking to him while they kept running tests and taking blood,” she recalled. “The next morning family and staff lined the hall for the ‘walk of honor.’ We told them River liked to go fast, so to honor him, they pushed him down that hall faster than they had ever pushed anyone. Granger and I held each other and cried.”
Thankfully, the donations were a huge success, and the Smith family can find a little peace knowing their baby’s death was not in vain. We wish them continued healing in this time.