“No words can express the gratitude we feel for the family who lost their loved one… choosing to save someone else’s life at a time of such grief” says Lincoln Seay’s father.
Lincoln Seay had spent much of his infant life in hospital. Lincoln was born with a severe birth defect called Heterotaxy syndrome that causes the heart to develop on the opposite side of the body. He was in dire need for a heart transplant since there was an additional complication where he had only one pumping chamber, and most of the valves were not functioning.
But this tense time came to an end when baby Lincoln received a life-saving heart transplant at the Seattle children’s hospital on Feb. 18, 2016, three days after the six-week wait estimate passed. The couple from Alaska was told that a donor match had been found — and just 21 days after undergoing the life-saving ordeal, the doctors agreed that the young boy was ready to go back home.
Rob Seay, the boy’s father couldn’t hold back his joy since Lincoln would be home soon and they would all be under one roof again.
Baby Lincoln needed a heart transplant, and his condition was not getting any better. So on November 2016, he was added on the transplanting list. The family kept hoping that a donor would be found on time.
Seay confessed his fear in those final days of waiting for a matching heart to be found. For the first time in his life, he imagined a life without his little boy. It was devastating and depressing for him.
Baby Lincoln was admitted at Seattle’s children’s heart center which had up to 21 heart transplant cases to its name as of the year 2015. The hospital has an average wait time of three and a half months which outmatches the national average of 7 months.
This was a somewhat relief for the family for with the life of a dear one hanging on a thread even a day is painstaking long. This family, however, wasn’t letting go without a fight and the assurance of Dr. Michael McMullan that he would do everything in his power to keep the boy alive kept their hopes high.
Hope and thanksgiving
The long-awaited call from the doctor came “I couldn’t believe it,” said Lincoln’s mother. She received news that a heart had been found for her son. It was the inexpressible joy of a mother being given an opportunity to share more time and to have more adventures with her child.
The parents expressed their sincere gratitude to the parents that selflessly gave up their child’s heart to save their dear son. Mindy, Lincoln’s mother, expressed this in a letter to the family. She wrote that: “…I will treasure that heart more than I’ve ever treasured any gift.”
With the new heart, Lincoln had a second chance, to accomplish anything he set out to do in his life. Although he would have to be going back to Seattle hospital for follow-up care, he was going to be well. Dr. McMullan assured them, “Lincoln should be able to do or be whatever he wants,” “He should be able to live the life he wants to live.”
A year later after the transplant, on April, Mr. Seay and his family celebrated Donate Life Month. The family recognized how important organ donation is. Mr. Seay revealed how important this month was to him and his family unlike before. For without the awareness it brought, he probably wouldn’t have had Lincoln with him.
They also took the time to remember the family that saved their son. This family gave them an opportunity to see their son grow up. They could not take lightly the fact that the family that saved their son’s life did not have the chance to see their kid grow, play and be a part of their family again. This was a matter that weighed heavily on Seay’s heart; that in the family ’s pain and grief, they chose to give life. What a selfless and gracious act!
Lincoln’s journey to recovery had only just begun, but McMullan assured the family that their son would enjoy a full life, just like any other child. Although medications and constant medical check-ups would have to become part of his life, it was better, a reprieve for the family that almost lost their son.