Before and After: Photo Series Shows Kids Thriving Thanks to Heart, Kidney and Liver Transplants

Through this photo series, we set out to show the profound impact organ transplants have on their recipients. Before becoming the energetic, athletic and funny kids they are today, the children in these photos received hearts, livers and kidneys from living and deceased donors, with two of them undergoing transplantation well before their first birthdays. The framed photos show each recipient in the days and weeks leading up to their surgery date.

For these kids, a second chance paved the way to move beyond a life filled with beeping monitors and hospital gowns to get back to the soccer fields and classrooms where they belong.

After a virus attacked Kate’s liver, it was left damaged beyond repair. Kate waited for months before the gift of life arrived. As Kate prepared for surgery, her giraffe companion, Spots, prepared too. On transplant day, staff wheeled Kate and Spots into the operating room with matching caps. Now a thriving second grader, Kate still keeps Spots by her side.

 transplant patient before and after

Angelica spent 80 days in the hospital after a severe case of pneumonia wreaked havoc on her organs. Her kidneys never quite healed, and Angelica spent more than a year on dialysis. When a kidney transplant offered the best chance at a normal life, Angelica’s mom donated one of her kidneys. Now closing in on her ninth birthday, Angelica is dazzling audiences with the gift of her singing voice.

kidney ransplant patient before and after with parents 

At just a few months old, Silas was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart becomes weakened and cannot pump blood. Silas had been in the hospital for 101 days when his family received news that a heart was on the way. Today, the 3-year-old can be found playing with his toy trains or being loved on by his two adoring big sisters.

heart transplant patient before and after on bench 

Born with biliary atresia, a rare disease of the liver and bile ducts, Jonah had been hospitalized more than 20 times by the time he started kindergarten. When his liver gave out at the age of 6, he waited in the hospital for six weeks before a match was found. Now a doting big brother to two sisters, Jonah turns 13 this month.

liver transplant patient before and after on couch 

When Mallory was just 10 days old, a mysterious virus attacked her heart. Her tiny, damaged heart held on for nearly two years before it could no longer keep up with her. Mallory spent two months in the hospital in critical condition before her new heart arrived. Less than a week after transplant, Mallory returned home to a neighborhood-wide celebration. Later this month, Mallory will celebrate her fourth birthday.

heart transplant patient before and after 

What began as a dry cough during a beach vacation led to a cardiomyopathy diagnosis for Kaleb. Kaleb then spent 96 days in the hospital in heart failure. Shortly after he turned 6 months old, Kaleb’s family got the call that a match had been found for him. Three months later, Kaleb is now happy, healthy and gearing up for a big first birthday celebration.

heart transplant patient before and after in wagon 


Jaundiced and experiencing stomach pains, a previously healthy Brandon arrived at Children’s in acute liver failure. With his condition rapidly deteriorating, he needed a transplant—and fast. By donating a portion of her healthy liver to replace Brandon’s failing liver, his mom allowed him to undergo a split-liver transplant. Brandon’s body was then able to use that portion to grow a new, healthy liver. Today, the 9-year-old is back on the soccer field.

liver transplant patient before and after holding picture 

Born with polycystic kidney disease, Gage’s kidney function rapidly deteriorated in his early elementary school years. When he was 8 years old, a woman from his church stepped forward and offered to donate one of her kidneys. Nearly 10 years later and with no sign of rejection, Gage enjoys the typical things a 17-year-old likes to do.

kidney transplant patient before and after 

Just like her big brother Gage, Quinn was born with polycystic kidney disease. Also like her big brother, she received the gift of life when a friend from the family’s church offered to donate one of her kidneys. Now 14, Quinn will start high school next year.

kidney trasplant patient before and after holding picture 

All nine of these kids are thriving today because someone chose to say yes to becoming an organ donor. Are you a registered organ donor?