How These Dolls With "Transplanted" Limbs Are Teaching Kids the Importance of Organ Donation

The lack of organ donors is a worldwide problem, particularly when it comes to donations that could help save a child's life.

An organization in Japan – which has the lowest rate of transplants in the industrialized world, with only two percent of those on a wait list going on to receive an organ donation – is working to raise awareness with the help of discarded stuffed animals.

The company is called Second Life Toys, and it collects discarded plush dolls, some of which are "donors" that are no longer played with while others are broken, frequently missing a limb. The toy company then takes parts from donor dolls and stitches them onto the others.

These transplanted toys are meant to represent the lives saved through organ transplants and help kids understand the importance of donating. Another aspect of the unique process – in which someone's precious toy lives on in another – is that the children who receive one of the saved dolls are tasked with writing a thank-you letter to the donor.

"Using toys as a motif, this project expands the notion of organ transplants by making it an enhancement rather than a compensation," said Misa Ganse, director of Japanese nonprofit Green Ribbon Committee, in the organization's promotional video. "It makes the topic approachable to everyone."

Take a look at a selection of some of the toys who, thanks to selfless donors, have gotten a second life.

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