-- Just look at them now.
Through the selfless act of strangers, these children -- now healthy and happy -- were given the gift of life.
They're the subject of a new photo series by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA). Each child was photographed pre- and post-organ transplant. The kids were the recipients of hearts, kidneys and livers.
"An organ transplant is a life-saving, life-changing gift. For these nine kids, donated organs allowed them to move beyond a life filled with beeping monitors and hospital gowns to get back to the dinner tables and classrooms where they belong," according to the children's hospital Facebook page.
"After a virus attacked Kate’s liver, it was left damaged beyond repair," CHOA wrote on its blog. "Kate waited in the hospital for months before the gift of life arrived. As Kate prepared for surgery, her giraffe companion, Spots, prepared too. On transplant day, staff wheeled Kate and Spots into the operating room with matching caps. Now a thriving second grader, Kate still keeps Spots by her side."
Silas, CHOA said, was diagnosed at just few months old with with dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart becomes weakened and cannot pump blood. "Silas had been in the hospital for 101 days when his family received news that a heart was on the way. Today, the 3-year-old can be found playing with his toy trains or being loved on by his two adoring big sisters."
"Born with biliary atresia, a rare disease of the liver and bile ducts, Jonah had been hospitalized more than 20 times by the time he started kindergarten," CHOA said. "When his liver gave out at the age of 6, he waited in the hospital for six weeks before a match was found. Now a doting big brother to two sisters, Jonah turns 13 this month."
When Mallory was just 10 days old, CHOA said, a mysterious virus attacked her heart. "Her tiny, damaged heart held on for nearly two years before it could no longer keep up with her. Mallory spent two months in the hospital in critical condition before her new heart arrived. Less than a week after transplant, Mallory returned home to a neighborhood-wide celebration. Later this month, Mallory will celebrate her fourth birthday."
What began as a dry cough during a beach vacation led to a cardiomyopathy diagnosis for Kaleb, CHOA wrote on its blog. "Kaleb then spent 96 days in the hospital in heart failure. Shortly after he turned 6 months old, Kaleb’s family got the call that a match had been found for him. Three months later, Kaleb is now happy, healthy and gearing up for a big first birthday celebration."
"Jaundiced and experiencing stomach pains, a previously healthy Brandon arrived at [CHOA] in acute liver failure," according to CHOA. "With his condition rapidly deteriorating, he needed a transplant—and fast. By donating a portion of her healthy liver to replace Brandon’s failing liver, his mom allowed him to undergo a split-liver transplant. Brandon’s body was then able to use that portion to grow a new, healthy liver. Today, the 9-year-old is back on the soccer field."
CHOA wrote on its blog of Gage, "Born with polycystic kidney disease, Gage’s kidney function rapidly deteriorated in his early elementary school years. When he was 8 years old, a woman from his church stepped forward and offered to donate one of her kidneys. Nearly 10 years later and with no sign of rejection, Gage enjoys the typical things a 17-year-old likes to do."