Hope over Fear | How the family of a young organ transplant recipient is facing a global pandemic05/7/2020
Photo: Heart recipient Oliver Crawford with a photo of Myles, his donor.
Because Oliver Crawford received his lifesaving heart transplant at just 6 days old, his family is taking extra precautions to keep him safe during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Since his transplant, 5-year-old Oliver has been taking anti-rejection medication, which suppresses his immune system. This means that he can get sick easily, and he’s at higher risk for complications—even the common cold could require him to need oxygen support.
Oliver is high risk for contracting coronavirus.
“As a parent you just want to protect your child from everything,” says Oliver’s mother Caylyn Crawford. “So, it’s scary. Absolutely terrifying.”
Because Oliver has been immune suppressed his whole life, the Crawford family has always had hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes on hand. But with the recent lack of supplies, Oliver’s family is concerned for his health more than ever before.
Thankfully, the quality of Oliver’s care has not been affected by the pandemic. This January, Oliver underwent a procedure to check for organ rejection. Because this procedure showed he is stable, Oliver can wait a few months between appointments with his transplant team. His mother says she is noticing more doctors begin to check on patients via video and phone calls and prioritize patients whose care cannot wait.
Despite all of the uncertainty in this time, the Crawford family is doing what they can to keep each other safe. This means washing their hands, showering and changing clothes when they get home to limit the number of contaminants entering the home.
“We are just trying to take all the precautions we can, because I don’t want to find out what it would be like if we didn’t,” says Caylyn.
So, the next time you find yourself stocking up on supplies, think about the people who need them the most during this time. You can help keep people like Oliver safe during this time by washing your hands, staying inside, practicing social distancing and covering your cough or sneeze with the inside of your arm.
Oliver got the chance to live a normal and healthy childhood today because an organ donor saved his life. You can sign up to save and heal others as well. Just visit DonateLifeAZ.org. It only takes 38 seconds, and there are no age limits or health requirements to register.
Find more information on COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.