Trenton McKinley was riding in a trailer pulled by a go-cart his friend was driving when the trailer flipped and landed on the 13-year-old’s head. The accident left him severely injured. He had seven skull fractures, at one point even flatlining for 15 minutes before falling back into a coma. His doctors told his parents that he was unlikely to survive. And if he did, he would likely have severe brain damage, rendering him unable to walk or talk.
A Miraculous Recovery
His parents made the agonizing decision to pull him from life support and donate his organs. Then, against all odds, the day before his life support was to be turned off, McKinley began to show signs of recovery and eventually regained full consciousness. His family considers his recovery a miracle and, two months later, McKinley continues to defy the odds as he makes more progress. He’s now talking and walking, and even cracking jokes.
“They told me I’d be a vegetable,” the Mobile, Alabama, teen said in an interview with NBC’s “Today.” “I don’t really seem like a vegetable, do I?”
What Lies Ahead
In the wake of his ordeal, McKinley has had to deal with a number of challenges, including a 50-pound weight loss, nerve pain and daily seizures. He has endured three brain surgeries, and likely has a long road of more surgeries and treatments ahead of him. A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help pay for his medical expenses. During the time he was unconscious, McKinley believes he was in heaven.
“I was in an open field walking straight,” he told WALA. “There’s no other explanation but God. There’s no other way. Even doctors said it.”
On April 29, McKinley’s mother, Jennifer Reindl, shared some photos, along with an update on her son via Facebook:
“Well, our Trenton is awake and in good spirits today,” she wrote. “We are beyond thankful to god for healing and continuing to heal Trent. Thanks so much to each and every one of y’all for your prayers and support. We send our love from Birmingham.”
What an amazing story! Here’s wishing McKinley all the best in his continued recovery!
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Company Educates Kids About Organ Donation Using Stuffed Animals
Organ donation is one of the most complicated, bittersweet practices—and can be especially hard for a child going through it.
One Japanese organization aims to help clarify the process for kids via a language children everywhere around the world understand: beloved stuffed animals.
Second Life Toys aims to educate children about organ donation by fixing broken stuffed animals with “organs” from other stuffed animals.
“Our hope is that, through this website and this initiative, more people will have a deeper understanding of organ transplant and actually contribute to the lives to be saved,” states the company’s website.
If you want to participate—and, no, you don’t have to live in Japan to do so—just go to the company’s website. If you’re a donor, you’ll take a picture of the toy first. Then, the donor’s toy and the toy in need will undergo an “operation” to receive a new part.
Here’s an example of a giraffe who received a donated leg from a donor’s stuffed animal.
There are other examples on the company’s website, too, like this narwhal.
And this rooster that’s been pieced together with a frog.
Or this bear with a cat ear.
You can learn more here in the company’s YouTube video. (Note: this was auto-translated from Japanese, so the audio quality in the video isn’t great, but you can get the gist.)
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