Leet foundation golf outing to help shed light on pediatric organ donation
On October 9, 2008, Maureen Sleber and her family made a decision that saved them from the brink of despair.
Sleber's adopted son Kristopher King was on life support in Children's Hospital after a shunt in his skull collapsed in late September.
When it became clear that he wouldn't recover, a family member suggested that King, 19, a Quaker Valley student, become an organ donor.
“When Kristopher died, it was unexpected,” said Sleber, of Leet.
“If someone hadn't suggested organ donations, I'm not sure we would have gotten through it.”
After King died, his family started the Kristopher King Foundation, a nonprofit that works to increase pediatric organ donation through education and awareness.
The foundation will host its fourth annual golf outing on July 12 at the Quicksilver Golf Club in Midway. All proceeds will benefit group's effort to display messages on billboards across Pennsylvania — and eventually the country — to increase awareness about pediatric organ donation. So far, the group has displayed messages on two billboards, one in West Virginia, and one in Bellevue.
Although the Center for Organ Recovery and Education strives to educate families in hospitals about the option of pediatric organ donation, it often is too late by the time the decision is made.
“Them raising awareness for pediatric donation is absolutely phenomenal,” said Michelle Christianson, who is in charge of the donor family program at CORE. “There's a need for pediatric donations. Not that you want a child to pass away, but when that times comes, people need to have that awareness.”
The subject of pediatric organ donation has been a controversial one for some people, Sleber said. A times, a stigma has surrounded organizations such as CORE, with the perception that they view potential donors as little more than the organs that can be salvaged to help other people.
But that is just one of many stereotypes that the Kristopher King Foundation is striving to abolish.
“There are so many misconceptions that people have, but CORE couldn't have been more supportive,” Sleber said. When the decision was made for King to become an organ donor, he had to be transported to UPMC Presbyterian for the surgery because Children's was not equipped for the procedure. But since then, the Kristopher King Foundation has worked to open that possibility for future patients at Children's.
“In the time that Kristopher has passed away until now, things have changed a little bit,” Christianson said. “There are more pediatric donors and I think hospitals are more prepared for that now.”
. A bronze plaque in King's memory and literature on pediatric organ donations on the sixth floor of the hospital, across from the library, with the hope that families will be led to make the same decision that Sleber's did.
“I have a friend who always says, ‘You can be bitter or better,'” Sleber said, “and we chose better.”
Gary Horvath is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Lane: Welcoming guests? Make it easy
- Plan for former Sewickley Country Inn site approved
- Photos: Sewickley Valley celebrates holiday season
- Serafini: Recipe for family holiday fun falls short
- Retiring official taking love of Leetsdale with her
- Sewickley Valley Girl Scouts adapt to digital cookie sales
- Repairs made to Sewickley stream