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By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter
National Donate Life Month, held annually in April, aims to promote registering to be an organ, tissue, or cornea donor. Though it is celebrated in April, nine-year-old Hunter Williams and his family know the importance of educating the public on organ donation and registering at all times of the year.
At just one year old, Hunter was diagnosed with Pulmonary Vein Stenosis (PVS), a rare condition that makes it difficult for oxygen-rich blood to reach the heart. Set on getting the best treatment possible for Hunter, his parents, Blake and Kristen Williams, and their oldest son, Logan, relocated from Colorado to Massachusetts, so that Hunter could receive treatment at Boston Children’s Hospital.
He underwent two open-heart surgeries and was placed in the hospital’s PVS study just before going on the transplant list for new lungs. A few months before his second birthday, Hunter received new lungs and celebrated being PVS free.
Just over five and a half years later, though, Hunter was on the transplant list again, after his body began to reject the lungs. On July 16, 2015, Hunter received his second gift of life – a new set of lungs from an organ donor.
To celebrate Hunter’s life and raise money and awareness for Donate Life, members of the community participated in the third annual Hunter’s Run on April 8.
With registration fees donated to local organization and charities, including NEADs and the Boston Children's Hospital Pediatric Transplant Center, the participants took satisfaction in knowing that they were supporting Hunter and many others affected by organ, tissue, and cornea transplants.
Before setting off from the Kingsbury Club’s start line for the certified 5K, children – many of them friends and classmates of Hunter’s – participated in the one mile fun run. Despite visiting the hospital a few days before the race, Hunter took it upon himself to join in the fun run, and crossed the finish line with his parents.
With a successful race and celebration, Medfield looks forward to supporting Hunter and his family at next year’s race and the many more to come.
Those interested in learning about becoming an organ donor are encouraged to visit donatelife.net and can register in just two minutes at registerme.org.