The 11th annual Family Celebration Day drew more than 500 people to Kimball Farm in Westford, Massachusetts. Stacey Morrison, mother of multivisceral transplant recipient Kaden — transplanted at 2 years old — shares her memorable Family Day experience.
(Be sure to scroll to the bottom for an adult patient’s Family Day speech!)

“The big ear-to-ear grin that was on his face through most of the day told us more than any words ever could.”

My son, Kaden, received a multivisceral (5-organ) transplant in July 2008, after having been diagnosed with stage-3 hepatoblastoma (liver cancer). Kaden also has cerebral palsy due to a very premature birth and a cognitive disability.

This was our first time attending the Pediatric Transplant Center’s Family Celebration Day and it won’t be our last. We had so much fun, we cannot wait to attend again next year!

Kaden as a toddler

In the first couple of years following his transplant, Kaden was in the hospital more than he was out, which was part of the reason we were never able to attend. Then, as time went on, I guess I was worried that Kaden may not be able to participate in many of the activities that the other kids were able to enjoy, because of his cognitive disabilities.

I could not have been more wrong. Kimball Farm is an absolutely perfect location for this event and there were so many events and activities that Kaden enjoyed; I’m not even sure we saw and did all of them! He had a blast. He loved the bounce houses and the bumper boats the most! Though he is non verbal, the big ear-to-ear grin that was on his face through most of the day told us more than any words ever could.

I loved seeing some old transplant buddies and meeting new ones. It’s easy to forget that we are not alone. There are many other transplant families and kids out there, many facing the same triumphs and challenges that we have also faced. It was also great to see our beloved doctors, nurses and other transplant team members. Rather than working in their white coats, face masks and rubber gloves, they were having fun with their families and the children whose lives would not be the same without them.

Under the tent, taking a break from all of the fun

My boyfriend and I could not believe how wonderfully organized this event was. The food was delicious, the activities fun and plentiful, the location was perfect. We are so happy we went and look forward to attending again and again in the coming years. Next year, I hope that Kaden’s older (teenage) brother will be able to attend with us (he was sick this year), because I think he would truly enjoy the opportunity to meet other siblings of transplant recipients. Thank you, Boston Children’s Hospital for hosting this wonderful event!

View event photos on Facebook.