December 19, 2021

Donation Essentials Blog

Transplant Scars: Where the Light Shines Through

December 19, 2021

What is a scar?

What does the word ‘scar’ mean? The Oxford Language Dictionary defines a scar as “a mark left on the skin or within the body tissue where a wound, burn, or sore has not healed completely and fibrous connective tissue has formed.” By the time we are adults, most people will have scars. Some come from accidents, some from childhood moments of reckless play, or even from surgeries. In the Donate Life community, a scar means so much more. The poet Rumi said,

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

liver transplant scar

This holds true for organ and tissue transplant recipients – their scar marks the spot where new light entered their body, giving them a second chance at life. Many proudly display their transplant scars for others to see as a way to pay it forward by sharing the stories of their gift of life.

Their scars are a daily reminder of the selfless decision made by their donor and are honored by their donor’s family. Transplant scars are not only a sign of injury, but also road maps of beauty, survival, and second chances for organ and tissue recipients. A well-deserved badge of honor.

Keegan’s Liver Transplant Scar

liver transplant scar

Keegan, shows off his liver transplant scar

Born with a rare liver disease called Biliary Atresia, little Keegan faced his first surgery at just 7 weeks old. Keegan’s parents, Stacey and Ken, worried about his future. As Keegan’s liver disease progressed, he was placed on the transplant waiting list in 2012. Keegan received a liver transplant when he was 3 years old in 2013.

Keegan is now a healthy and active almost 12-year-old. He loves to swim, cheer on the Cowboys University of Wyoming football team, and watch movies. Knowing what his scar represents, Keegan is somewhat shy as any child would be, but his caring nature shines through, and he honors his gift of life every day by living his life to the fullest. Stacey says, “Keegan’s donor and his family are our heroes, and we will be forever thankful and grateful that they made the decision to donate life.” Keegan’s liver transplant scar is where the light shines through.

The Art of the Scar Exhibit

In February of 2014, 15 transplant recipients and living donors teamed up with 30 high school students from Virginia to show off their scars. The unique project resulted in a multi-media exhibition called Art of the SCAR. The United Network for Organ Sharing, UNOS, proudly shares this traveling art exhibit around the national Donate Life community. We encourage you to take a moment to view the exhibit’s reception and the touching artwork of transplant scars.

Inspired to register an organ, eye and tissue donor in Wyoming?

Remember your most recent decision is honored at the time of your death, so say Yes to organ, eye and tissue donation every time you get or renew your driver’s license or state ID at your local Wyoming Driver Services office. You can also say Yes to saving lives online anytime.

We would like to extend our gratitude to UNOS, the Clover Hill High School Photography Club students, and the transplant recipients and living donors who shared their precious and powerful scars to make the Art of the Scar exhibit possible. Also, a huge thank you to our local transplant recipient, Keegan, for sharing his beautiful scar with us.

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