Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital patients, staff and family members recently enjoyed a special visit from Michigan State mascot Sparty to encourage people to sign up to be organ donors.

Jazir Westerfield, 5, full of life, ran around chasing Sparty, but you wouldn’t guess that six months ago he underwent a kidney transplant. Suffering from kidney failure, he’d been on dialysis all his young life.

“We got the call about 3 in the morning,” Jazir’s mother, Tammy, said. “I thought, ‘Who is calling me at 3 in the morning? That is so rude.’ I don’t even know the actual conversation. All I heard was, ‘Do you accept the kidney?’ I was like, ‘What?’ I was in tears.”

Spectrum Health clinical transplant coordinator Liz Jirous and Spectrum Health pediatric living kidney coordinator Lori Copeland registered people to become organ donors.

“Anyone can donate a live organ,” Copeland said. “It can come from a relative, a friend, or even a complete stranger.”

“We have kids and adults on the wait list for different organs and to be able to see the outcome when somebody receives a transplant is pretty cool,” Jirous said. “It is obviously life-changing.”