Granger Smith’s Wife Reveals Their Late Son’s Organs Saved Two Lives

Since the tragic loss of their 3-year-old son, River, last month, Granger Smith and his wife Amber have been very…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

July 14, 2019


8:12 pm

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Granger Smith and son River; Photo via Facebook

Since the tragic loss of their 3-year-old son, River, last month, Granger Smith and his wife Amber have been very open on honest with fans about the struggles they’ve faced since he drowned in their backyard pool. As they continue to mourn their son, they are keeping his legacy alive by helping others in his honor.

Late last month, the Smith family presented a check for $218,791 to Dell Children’s Medical Center, the hospital that provided River with medical attention before his death, and this month, Amber revealed that River’s donated organs recently saved two lives.

In an Instagram post shared on Saturday, Amber recalled the harrowing moment they decided to donate River’s organs.

“When 3 different neuro specialists told us that River had 0% chance of brain recovery (yes 0, not 10 or 1%, 0) after shock and reality set in, I thought, how can we bury our sweet baby and not try to help others? His body is perfect, his organs are perfect, we had to do something. There are so many people waiting for an organ to save their lives,” she explained. “The doctors said donation was quite a process. We would have to search for viable recipients and it could take days. We knew River’s spirit was in Heaven, but we couldn’t bear to watch his tiny, earthly body be pumped full of all the medicines for 3 or more days while they searched. They tried to expedite the process so our family could be in peace, told us they would take him back to operate the next morning, but we wouldn’t know what organs could be used until after. With such a small body, organs had to be measured physically, not just by X-ray.”

She then recalled spending the night crying in bed with her son as doctors ran tests and took blood.

“The next morning family and staff lined the hall for the ‘walk of honor,’” she recalled. “We told them River liked to go fast, so to honor him, they pushed him down that hall faster than they had ever pushed anyone. Granger and I held each other and cried.”

Amber closed her post with a message to the organ recipients and encouraged others to become organ donors after receiving a letter informing her that their “tiny, red-headed hero gave life to 2 adults.”

“A 49 year old woman and a 53 year old man,” she wrote. “I cried when we opened it. Cried out of sadness & cried out of love. I’m so proud to be River’s mama and I’m so grateful to God that he gave him to us for those incredible 3 years. I pray these 2 recipients live healthy, joy filled, full throttle lives just like Riv. It was one of the hardest, yet easiest, decisions we’ve ever made.”

She added, “There are over 113,000 people waiting for transplants & 20 people die each day waiting. Go to to see how you can help give life as well.”

Granger Smith an Amber continue to share messages with fans via social media and their YouTube channel, The Smiths.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.