Old Toys Receive New Limbs To Educate Kids About Organ Donation

Organ donation is a difficult topic to discuss, especially when it comes to child donors. But a social project in Japan called Second Life Toys aims to change that.

The ‘transplant of toys’ campaign from Second Life Toys asks the public to donate plush toys that have been loved to bits, but are now past their playtime. Parts from these ‘donor’ toys are then used to repair ripped, torn and worn-out ‘recipient’ toys.

The campaign then asks anyone who gets a plush transplant to write a thank-you letter to the donor—completing the reciprocal circle and helping to illustrate the potential benefits of a more significant medical gift.

Overall, it’s a clever way to spark discussion about the issue. Japan has an especially low rate of organ donation (only 2% of the people on transplant lists will receive an organ transplant each year) and Second Life Toys shows children and grown-ups how important organ donation is.

It also creates some Pinterest-worthy plush hybrids, that in many cases are cuter than the originals! A squirrel tail becomes an elephant’s trunk, boxing monkey arms become bear paws and a narwal gets a deer’s ear.

Whether the metaphor seems too cute or far removed from the real necessity to sufficiently spur action is another question. However, any effort that drives toward a better understanding of the practice—and a larger donor pool—is an extremely worthwhile cause, made all the more so given that just one more life saved is all it really takes to make a huge difference.

To donate a toy or apply for a toy transplant, see Second Life Toys.