Oklahoma Father Gives Gift of Life To Young Son


Wednesday, December 19th 2018, 5:21 pm
By: News 9


A father's love is unconditional and when the time comes, can be strong enough to see their children through the worst of times. For one Oklahoma dad, that time came soon after his son was born. 

George Schroeder covers national college football for USA Today, online, on TV and on social media, but his biggest follower is quite possibly right here at home.

"He just loves sports," George said of his son Christopher. 

His son is 8 years old and his father's son in every way.

"Hi everybody, my name is Christopher, would you like to play some football," said Christopher on a video his dad posted to his Twitter account.

 

 

"He will do his own play by play for his own little games," said George. "He'll find a channel and watch old football games and then he'll find himself doing play by play along with it."

But Christopher got more than a love of sports from his dad, he got a gift he still carries with him to this day.

"God's wired into the hearts of fathers to do good things for their children, to give good gifts to them," he said.

He was called to do that soon after his son was born.

"It was a terrible day, it's the worst news I've ever received," he said.

They learned Christopher had a defective heart.

"I just remember crying, just sitting there crying," said Shannon Schroeder, Christopher's mother. "They really expected his heart to fail in the womb. It was that serious."

Their son's only chance for survival was through a heart transplant.

"If you're child gets a heart you know someone else lost a child, and so it's really hard," George said.

At seven weeks old, Christopher got a new heart.

"The heart, since the day it was transplanted has beat as though it was always his," George said.

But soon after the successful surgery, the family's joy became overshadowed by more devastating news, Christopher's kidneys were failing.

"His original kidneys had just shriveled up and died," he said.

The newborn would again need another organ transplant to survive, but this time it needed to come from an adult.

"You walk through those days with this heavy burden on your heart," Shannon remembers.

Without hesitation, though, George stepped up and found out he was a match to donate his kidney to his son.

"Our biggest thing for him was keeping him alive," he said. "He had to have an abdomen big enough to take an adult kidney which is about the size of an adult fist."

When Christopher was 22-months-old, doctors were ready to perform the transplant.

"I was nervous, but you know I think I had kind of a peace about it," George said. "I felt like things were going to go well. We were just so thankful to get to that day."

After the several-hour procedure, the family's prayers were answered, doctors successfully transplanted the kidney.

"Once he received the kidney, he began to flourish, he lost some of the fluid weight that he had, he began to develop and grow," said George.

However, it would be another 11 months in the hospital before Christopher finally went home where he spent the next year on dialysis.

"It wasn't easy, but we were so happy at that point to have him home," he said.

Now seven years later, Christopher is a 3rd grader and thriving.

"With each year we just pray that he'll be able to be a young adult and have a job and fulfill all his desires of what he wants to do as a young man," Shannon said.

Christopher is still immune suppressed and must take anti-rejection drugs twice a day.

"He has a joy and a kind of a combination of a fighting spirit and a joy for life that I don't know that I've ever encountered," said George. "He's the toughest kid I know."