Isaiah Burridge, Recipient
Transplant is Music to the Heart and Kidney
Posted June 16, 2011
Isaiah Burridge is a musician on a mission.
The 18-year-old plays guitar and keyboard. He writes songs. Isaiah dreams of starting a band one day.
His mission is to promote organ and tissue donation. “There are so many myths and misconceptions about organ donation,” he told the Warren County Record in 2009. “I just want to urge people to check out the truth and consider all they can make possible through this simple act.”
Isaiah and his family – parents Michael and Carlene, and older sister Lauren – are keenly aware of the generous and precious Gift of Life.
Carlene was pregnant with Isaiah when the family moved from Dallas to St. Louis for a business venture. Five-months into her pregnancy, doctors found the baby had a fatal heart defect called hypoplastic heart syndrome. The family was devastated. “We were all alone to go through this with no family here,” Carlene said. “But we knew God would see us through.”
So Isaiah spent his first weeks in the summer of 1993 in neonatal intensive care unit at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Meanwhile, in another state, a baby boy was on life support, suffering from sudden infant death syndrome.
His parents chose to donate his organs. The Burridge family received the call on July 28, 1993 that Isaiah was to receive his heart.
“The idea of this tiny organ that could fit into the serving cup of a bottle of Nyquil is still so amazing,” Carlene told the Warren County Record.
Making a transplant look easy
Isaiah grew up to be a healthy teenager.
The immune-suppression drugs he takes for his heart did cause some ups and downs as a child, but his heart never rejected. In 2007, the drugs proved to have taken a toll on his kidneys. In the Fall of 2009, doctors discovered Isaiah had only 14 percent kidney function. He needed another transplant.
The family immediately started testing to find a match. Isaiah’s sister, Lauren, who is seven years older, was a match. Just as the testing was near completion, doctors received a call from the United Network of Organ Sharing about an available kidney.
A woman in another state had died in an accident. She saved five lives – including Isaiah’s – by donating her organs, Carlene said.
“I truly thought our daughter was going to be his donor as all the testing was just about done, but I was grateful,” Carlene said. “I was not looking forward to putting both of my children on the operating table, but we would do what we had to do.”
Just 20 days after being placed on the waiting list, Isaiah had a kidney match.
He returned to St. Louis Children’s Hospital – a trip with which he and his family were very familiar because of weekly visits to monitor his progress and condition – for another transplant surgery.
Five days later, he returned home.
“The doctors were amazed,” Carlene told the Suburban Journals. “They told Isaiah thanks for making this look easy.”
Giving hope to others
Back at his home in Warrenton on Checotah Lane – a tribute to the baby boy that saved his life at six weeks – Isaiah plans to pursue a career in the music industry.
With speaking engagements for groups and individuals for adults and children like him, he has become quite the advocate for organ donation. “I believe God has blessed me with this life,” Isaiah said, “and I need to share with others that donating your organs gives hope to others.”