2016 Team Member - Valerie James

When Xavier was born it was both the greatest day of my life, and incredibly difficult. My sweet boy was born with Posterior Urethral Valves, an abnormality that affects only male infants and occurs in about one in 8,000 births. It is very rare, and it meant that Xavier needed a new kidney.

My husband George and I were heartbroken to learn that we could not be living donors for our son. As a parent you want to protect your children from pain and suffering. We felt helpless and scared.

On October 6, 2005 Xavier was placed on the national organ transplant list, and then we waited. Xavier spent many nights at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego. This little boy had more surgeries before the age of three than many of us will have in a lifetime.

Two years later, on August 4, 2007, two families’ lives were changed forever. Sam McCrow and his family were vacationing in San Diego when his young life came to an end. Sam was doing what he loved to do most, surfing. He had spent the day at Mission Beach teaching his cousins how to surf. As the avid surfer stepped out of the water, he collapsed. Despite every effort to save his life, Sam died from a brain aneurysm. On August 6, Sam and his family did for Xavier what my husband and I were unable to do. They said yes to organ donation and gave him the Gift of Life. This gift changed Xavier’s quality of life forever. He no longer requires 10 hours of dialysis each night, growth hormone shots, shots for anemia or tube feedings. He is a healthy, happy little boy.

I wear two bracelets on my wrist. One says, “Donate Life” and the other says, “Sam” with a little surfer guy on it. When people ask me why I wear the bracelet, I get to tell them about the young man who loved life and saved four lives upon his passing, including my son Xavier. As Sam’s sister Kaisa once said, “through loss and tragedy there are a lot of beautiful things that can happen.” Xavier is now in 6th grade and he loves playing with his friends and playing soccer. He is blossoming and learning to love life in a way Sam held dear, a life of adventure, friends and family. This is a journey that the McCrow family is sharing with us, a journey that has brought our two families together. We love them with all of our hearts and are forever thankful for their gift.

Xavier attended the 2014 Transplant Games and was named Youth Athlete of the Year.

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2016 TGA Sports