Oklahoma Father Gives Son The Gift Of Life
TULSA, Oklahoma - A parent'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 when his son was born.
George Schroeder covers national college football for USA Today - online, on social media.. and sometimes on News On 6 as a contributor on the Oklahoma Ford Sports Blitz.
But his biggest follower is right here at home.
“He loves sports,” said George Schroeder, Christopher’s father.
His son Christopher is eight and his father's son in every way.
“He will do his own play-by-play for his own for his own little games,” George said.
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.
George 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,” George said.
Christopher had a defective heart.
“I just remember crying, just sitting there crying. They really expected his heart to fail in the womb it was that serious,” said Shannon Schroeder, Christopher’s mother.
Their son's only chance for survival was through a heart transplant.
“If your child gets a heart,” George said, “You know someone else lost a child and so it’s really hard.
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,” George explained.
Christopher would again need another organ transplant to survive and without hesitation George stepped up and found out his kidney was a match.
“I was nervous but you know I think I had kind of a peace about it.”
After the several-hour procedure, doctors successfully transplanted the kidney.
George said, “Once he received the kidney, he began to flourish.”
But it would be another 11 months in the hospital before Christopher finally went home where he spent the next year on dialysis.
George said, "It wasn't easy but we were so happy at that point to have him home."
Now nearly seven years later, Christopher is a 3rd grader.
Shannon said, “With each year we just pray that we’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.”
“He had 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.”
Christopher is still immune suppressed and must take anti-rejection drugs twice a day.