I’m Melissa Williams, Tissue Navigator at Lurie Children’s Hospital. More than fifteen years ago I began a journey with donation. I worked for Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network as a liaison with funeral directors and forensic professionals.
Since coming to Lurie I have learned so much about brain cancers and how devastating a diagnosis can be for a family. At the same time, I have been amazed at what medical science is doing to try and end these horrible cancers. There is no doubt in my mind that a cure will come. It will take efforts from many groups that are committed to this endeavor including patient families.
The families I have met are so inspirational. They don’t want other children to suffer as theirs have. They feel a sense of responsibility to their children who lost their battle, to end childhood cancer through donation and much-needed fundraising. These profound examples of humanitarianism are what will in the end lead to improved survival and quality of life for children with cancer. We have much work to do and I am genuinely grateful to be here and see the work that is being done.
A Simple Two-Step Process
For the family, once a decision has been made to donate, only two things are required. The first is written consent for the child to become a tissue donor, and the second is a single phone call to a tissue navigator at the time of a child’s death to initiate the process.