The Tiniest of Donors
In July, Lifeline of Ohio facilitated the third neonatal organ donation for research since we developed a Neonatal Donation Program in October 2017. Three families, all with babies born with congenital anomalies not expected to live longer than minutes to a couple of days, approached Lifeline of Ohio about the option of donation. With the launch of this new program, we are able to offer families in these difficult situations the option for something good to come out of something so terrible.
Kelly and Adam Calhoon approached Lifeline of Ohio after their baby was given a diagnosis of “not compatible with life outside of the womb” at their 12-week ultrasound appointment. After research, and learning donation may be a possibility, they knew what their child was meant to do – leave a rich legacy through research.
Because of his condition, Noah was born by Cesarean section on January 10, 2018. Aside from his underdeveloped brain, he was healthy. He met his 2-year-old sister, Josie, and other family members. He lived for 25 hours.
Noah’s parents donated his liver, kidneys, lungs, thymus, pancreas, trachea and intestine to foster research involving cancer, diabetes, AIDS, kidney-disease risk, tuberculosis, asthma, lung transplants and a malabsorption disorder called short gut syndrome.
Many of the research efforts stay at the local level between The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Some of the local research taking place includes:
- Lungs- used to study chronic asthma and develop a lung map to understand human lung development to increase regeneration of lung tissue in underdeveloped lungs for premature babies.
- Liver- goal to develop novel in vivo models to serve as a bridge of translation of labs discoveries to clinical applications for research to treat human disease like cancer, diabetes and AIDS.
- Kidneys- test therapies designed to preserve nephrons in patients at risk for chronic kidney disease.
- Pancreas- discover a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.
- Intestine- working on development of 3D mapping of the intestines
- Heart valves for transplant (there are requirements on baby’s size and gestation)
“I can honestly say that that was the best day of my life, just because there was so much love in that room,” Kelly said. “Everybody was so happy and excited, and there wasn’t another care in the world. You just weren’t thinking about anything other than ‘This is why we did this, and we made it, and this was the payoff.’”