By Mallorie Rast, Kindersley Social, June 14, 2017 

Kindersley native Kaden Richardson passed away on June 6, 2017 at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon, SK. Grief- stricken, his family banded together to grieve their loss, yet out of that meeting came an unexpected source of comfort—organ donation.

“While Kaden was in ICU, the doctors came and gave us the news that Kaden was passing on;” recalled Richardson’s mother, Angela McPhee. “I was heart- broken, yet even as I was feeling this great ache inside, I knew that I needed to make Kaden’s memory last.”

Herself an organ donor, McPhee’s thoughts flew back a couple of months prior to a conversation she had held with Richardson about organ donation.

“Once I explained how organ donation could save lives, Kaden immediately said he wanted to become an organ donor.” Recalling that conversation, McPhee immediately contacted the attending medical personnel to notify them of Richardson’s wish. As it was later discovered, thanks to the quick action on the Kindersley’s EMS team, Richardson was able to donate several organs, including his heart, liver, pancreas, and both kidneys, as well as blood vessels and veins.

The decision to donate was not made lightly, Richardson’s entire immediate family gathered together to make the final vote. Richardson’s 13 year old sister, Madalyn McPhee was particularly involved in the process and the various decisions that needed to be made. As the final goodbyes were said, the family taped the sound of Richardson’s heartbeat, just moments before the donation surgery began.

“It was a powerful time for us,” said McPhee, “we were grieving through our loss, but we knew that we were able to save lives.”

After the surgery was completed, Madalyn McPhee went to a Build a Bear shop and built a bear in the memory of Richardson. As a final touch, Richardson’s heart beat recording was placed inside the bear. McPhee says the donation has aided her to process the grief of losing her child. “Just knowing that while Kaden maybe wasn’t able to accomplish much during his life, after his passing he was able to do a lot of good. Just thinking that has helped me through the pain.”

Madalyn and bear with Kaden’s heartbeat inside of it – Image Courtesy of Angela McPhee 

McPhee doesn’t personally know the recipients of the donations; she may never know, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to find out. “I feel drawn to the people who were helped by my son, so the hunt continues for them.”

McPhee noted that these recipients often have to wait a very long time before receiving a life-giving donation. “I’ve heard that over 90% of Canadians are in support of organ donations, but only about 20% actually make the step to becoming a donor.” McPhee encourages those who haven’t yet made this deci- sion to not wait but to get started today.

“It has been a rough week. A powerful week,” concluded McPhee, “Knowing that my son isn’t truly gone, but instead that he is living out there somewhere inside another person, it just helps me to know that through the greatest pain, something wonderful and good can truly happen.”

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