THE WOODLANDS, Texas – The doctors and staff at Texas Children’s Hospital, as well as community members, made the holidays merry and bright for post transplant recipients at the annual Texas Children’s Hospital Transplant Holiday Party. The children who attended have received a transplant at Texas Children’s one to three years ago. From arts and crafts and holiday activities to a special visit from Santa Claus, the attendees got the wonderful opportunity to have a day of fun while visiting with other kids who have gone through similar experiences.
Texas Children’s has the largest pediatric liver and lung transplant program in the country. The depth and skill of the doctors and staff allows the hospital to be successful with heart, kidney, liver and lung transplants, and even the most complex of procedures.
“We’ve done more liver and lung transplants than any other transplant program in the country, and last year we were the biggest pediatric liver transplant program, and performed the most pediatric lung transplants. Last year, we also did the most pediatric heart transplants in the country,” explained Jennifer Hiser, director of transplant at Texas Children’s Hospital.
Every year, Texas Children’s and Dr. John Goss, medical director of transplant services at Texas Children’s, puts on a party for the kids that not only gets them in the holiday spirit, but allows the transplant recipients to mingle with other children who have had similar procedures. They all have something in common, and the transplant party allows them to come together to form bonds and friendships.
“I think the party allows them to meet other kids,” said Hiser. “They are dealing with the same issues, and 65 percent of our patients get transplanted when they are babies. I think it is good to be around each other and kind of have each other as a support group.”
Along with Dr. Goss and the Texas Children’s doctors and staff, community members also came together to help make the annual transplant party happen. Vinny Sinisi is just one example of local residents coming together for a greater cause. Sinisi, of TEAMSINISI Real Estate Group, has been actively involved in the transplant party for many years. A good friend of Dr. Goss, Sinisi’s history with Texas Children’s is bittersweet. Eight years ago, his granddaughter passed away at Texas Children’s, and ever since, he has been working to raise awareness of the hospital’s mission to provide a healthier future for children by leading in patient care, education and research. So now, every year, you can bet Sinisi will be in attendance at the Transplant Holiday Party, although he may be in disguise with a thick white beard.
“I do it every year,” said Sinisi. “We just all have a good time. I have become very close with the hospital staff.”
Although the children who attended the party have received successful transplants, there are still many who are on the waitlist. Hiser was sure to stress the importance of organ donation and how it can save lives for those waiting for a transplant.
“If people are interested in being a organ donor, they need to do it right now,” said Hiser. “We have over 100 kids at Texas Children’s on our waitlist waiting for an organ, and that encompasses liver, heart and kidney.”
To register to be an organ donor, visit www.donatelifetexas.org.
Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the doctors and staff Texas Children’s Hospital, post transplant recipients were able to come together for camaraderie and fun at the annual Transplant Holiday Party. For more information about Texas Children’s Hospital, visit texaschildrens.org.