Granger Smith's Son Saved 2 Lives

River, who died after drowning at age 3, was an organ donor
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 15, 2019 11:09 AM CDT
Granger Smith's Son Saved 2 Lives
Amber Bartlett, left, and husband Granger Smith in a file photo.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

In an emotional Instagram post, country star Granger Smith's wife, Amber, reveals that after the couple's 3-year-old son River died by drowning, he saved the lives of two adults via organ donation. "When 3 different neuro specialists told us that River had 0% chance of brain recovery ... I thought, how can we bury our sweet baby and not try to help others?" She explains that the family tried to expedite the process as much as possible, and describes spending all night in the hospital bed with her son, "crying and talking to him," as tests were run in anticipation of him being taken to surgery the next morning. On the way to the operating room, as family and staff lined the hall to say goodbye, "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."

"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," Smith writes. She says she always knew she wanted to be an organ donor, but "never in a million years did I think I would be making that decision for my baby." As for the two people who received her son's organs, "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 to see how you can help give life as well." (In an emotional video, the Smiths shared a request for fans after River's death.)

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