October 1, 2020 by Cathy Stack
Brayden Auten was a typical active, healthy school boy. He had a love for wrestling and even competed in the state championship. It was a week after competing when his whole life instantly changed. He began feeling sick at school and his parents instinctively knew something was wrong. “He was never sick. Healthiest person I know,” his concerned mother, Ruth said. His parents rushed him to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Doctors determined that an aggressive, unknown virus was attacking his liver causing it to shut down.
“It was absolutely terrifying, to not know how much time you have left with your child,” his father, James recalled of the heart wrenching ordeal. As Brayden’s condition worsened, there was no time to waste prompting an immediate donor search. His family members were all tested but unfortunately out of 15 none were a viable match.
Word of Brayden’s plight soon spread to the neighboring hospital, where one particularly caring ICU nurse named Camie Loritz took notice. Nurse Lortiz was so moved by the story of the young boy’s battle that she made the brave decision to join the donor program. She was asked what motivated her to volunteer to be a living donor. “He would have died. I don’t think that is fair for an 8-year-old,” she answered overcome with emotion. Her liver turned out to be a perfect match for the transplant procedure. The lifesaving operation was a huge success. “She saved my child’s life,” said the boy’s mother with sincere gratitude for the nurse who answered her prayers.
After a few weeks of recovery, Brayden’s doctor gave him the green light to resume his normal activities including wrestling. “The sky's the limit,” his doctor told him. There was something important on his list of things to do. He wanted to personally thank one very special person, Nurse Loritz. “I’m going to give her a big hug,” said Bryden beaming with joy. The emotional reunion was filled with happy tears. The two are forever bonded now in many ways, including matching surgical scars.
The Auten family now consider Nurse Loritz part of their family. Brayden’s father sent his own personal message of thanks on social media. “She has given up time and went through pain to make sure that my son has a chance to walk by my side again and be able to live and thrive like a regular boy. I will never be able to repay the gift that you have given my son and all of us!” He said in his heartfelt post.
PassItOn celebrates selfless people like Camie Loritz who go above and beyond to help another. Her brave action is the perfect example of the value of sacrifice. Her heroism is expressed through her willingness to sacrifice her time, energy and own physical well-being to save a child. Please help us honor Nurse Loriz as well as raise awareness of living organ donations by sharing this heartwarming story of hope.
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photo credit: GoFundMe