Country Singer Granger Smith’s Son Saved 2 Lives With His Organ Donation, Wife Says

Country Singer Granger Smith’s Son Saved 2 Lives With His Organ Donation, Wife Says
Country singer Granger Smith and son, River. (Granger Smith/Instagram via CNN)

The wife of country singer Granger Smith has revealed that they donated their late baby boy’s organs and helped save the lives of two people after his death last month.

In an Instagram post Saturday, Amber Smith said they decided to help others after 3-year-old River accidentally drowned at the family’s home in Georgetown on June 6. She described him as a “tiny, red-headed hero.”

“When three different neuro specialists told us that River had 0% chance of brain recovery … after shock and reality set in, I thought, how can we bury our sweet baby and not try to help others?” she wrote. “His body is perfect, his organs are perfect, we had to do something. There are so many people waiting for an organ to save their lives.”

She said she lay in bed next to her baby boy as doctors ran tests and took blood.

“The next morning family and staff lined the hall for the ‘walk of honor,'” she wrote. “We told them River liked to go fast, so to honor him, they pushed him down that hall faster than they had ever pushed anyone. Granger and I held each other and cried.”

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I’ve always known I wanted to be a donor if anything were to ever happen to me. I just felt that if I had viable organs, why would I go into the ground with them? My spirit would be in Heaven, so why not save a life if I could? Never in a million years did I think I would be making that decision for my baby. When 3 different neuro specialists told us that River had 0% chance of brain recovery (yes 0, not 10 or 1%, 0) after shock and reality set in, I thought, how can we bury our sweet baby and not try to help others? His body is perfect, his organs are perfect, we had to do something. There are so many people waiting for an organ to save their lives. The doctors said donation was quite a process. We would have to search for viable recipients and it could take days. We knew River’s spirit was in Heaven, but we couldn’t bear to watch his tiny, earthly body be pumped full of all the medicines for 3 or more more days while they searched. They tried to expedite the process so our family could be in peace, told us they would take him back to operate the next morning, but we wouldn’t know what organs could be used until after. With such a small body, organs had to be measured physically, not just by X-ray. I spent the night laying in bed with him, crying and talking to him while they kept running tests and taking blood. The next morning family and staff lined the hall for the “walk of honor”. We told them River liked to go fast, so to honor him, they pushed him down that hall faster than they had ever pushed anyone. Granger and I held each other and cried. We got the letter that our tiny, red-headed hero gave life to 2 adults. A 49 year old woman and a 53 year old man. I cried when we opened it. Cried out of sadness & cried out of love. I’m so proud to be River’s mama and I’m so grateful to God that he gave him to us for those incredible 3 years. I pray these 2 recipients live healthy, joy filled, full throttle lives just like Riv. It was one of the hardest, yet easiest, decisions we’ve ever made. There are over 113,000 people waiting for transplants & 20 people die each day waiting. Go to OrganDonor.gov to see how you can help give life as well. ❤️

A post shared by Amber Smith (@amberemilysmith) on

The couple have also donated more than $200,000 to Dell Children’s Medical Center in Texas, where River received care before he died two days later.

“This is just the beginning,” Granger said while presenting a check for $218,791 to the hospital. “Let this be a small token of the gratitude that we’ve got for you guys.”

granger smith
Granger Smith and Amber Smith visit Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas to present a donation in memory of their son, River Kelly Smith in Austin, Texas, on June 25, 2019. (Rick Kern/Getty Images)

River accidentally drowned at the family’s home in Georgetown on June 6. After attempting to do CPR, the couple rushed River to Dell Children’s Medical Center where he received care from the staff but would die two days later.

Two weeks later, on June 19, the couple posted a nearly 28-minute video on YouTube, in which they honored River Kelly Smith’s memory with an emotional tribute, titled “Finding Light in Our Darkest Time.” The couple included their memories, photos, clips, and events from the boy’s short life.

“What if you were given a gift of 1,000 days on this Earth?” Granger asks during the video. He explains that his daughter, London, asked him how many days River had been on earth, and he realized it was “just over a thousand,” Fox 59 reported.

“If you could live those days barefoot, red hair flying back on your tractor full speed ahead, if you could do that with your family around you, with no real cares in the world … that’s a good way to live,” Smith says in the video.

NTD News reporter Victor Westerkamp contributed to this report.

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