Ever wonder how organ transplants work? The recipient takes immune-suppressing meds every 12 hours for the rest of their life so that their body doesn’t try to fight the foreign cells, putting the patient into “rejection”. This is what is most life-threatening to a recipient. If their body does detect the organ it will destroy it, if the rejection is mild and caught early, it is typically treatable. If not, the patient can die, very quickly. If medications are not taken on time, or missed, it may cause rejection. Rejection is a transplant patient’s worst nightmare. Beside missed meds, most rejections happen as a result of a prior illness, which revs up the immune system to fight it off, and while in full-blown attack mode, it finds the foreign organ. This is why it is so important for patients to stay healthy, and why parents of transplanted kids may seem a little crazy when they ask you to use hand sanitizer whenever you come into their home (don’t worry, they’ll supply it, every one of them I know has a giant bottle by the front door) or cancels a play date if your kid has a runny nose. Besides our kids taking twice as long to rid themselves of any and every infection because they’re fighting with a sad and puny army, any illness can easily grant them a hospital stay, and at the risk of sounding dramatic, potentially cost them their life..