Friday, December 10, 2004

MIRACLE - For Savannah

If you have not read the story of Savannah, please head over to Angi’s blog and catch up. Savannah received a liver. What a wonderful holiday blessing for her family, yet somewhere we know that another family is mourning the loss of their beloved child. I signed my first organ donor card when I was 12. I don’t remember the exact circumstances but I did send away for the information and signed the donor card and informed my parents. They were a bit skeptical, as my parents are, but I continued to make my wishes known. Finally, within the past year and a half, when my mom got her driver’s license renewed, she had them put the organ donor symbol on it. I was very proud. I know two people who received new kidneys. One actually received two; one from a living donor (her mother) and one from a deceased donor. Sadly, she threw away her opportunities and eventually died from kidney rejection due to drug use. The other received a kidney due to damage from diabetes and is still running around and kicking up her heels. Yet, my high school friend, ME, lost her mother due to kidney failure because they could not find a donor. Another friend, CH, lost her dad because a bone marrow donor could not be found. When CH and her family found out her father had a particularly fast moving and deadly form of leukemia, they were all immediately tested and none matched. They then had a bone marrow donor drive to try and find a match. This is when I was tested ($25 test fee) and placed on the National Bone Marrow Program Registry. I am conceited enough, and gladly so, that I believe my blood is special. I believe yours is too. Minorities, bi-racial and tri-racial groups are always in demand. Interesting twists in genetics (mine: French/Irish/African/Jewish/ Turkish/ Native American) can bring the most unlikely of people together. If you have not read the story of Nicholas Green, please do so. His family inspired a country. I am inspired by each and every family who makes the difficult, or perhaps, not so difficult choice, to donate their loved one’s organs. My cousin’s family was faced with this not too long ago. Niki’s brother-in-law was considerably younger at the age of 12. One day he went to his mom and told her that if anything were to happen to him that he wanted his organs donated. They talked about it and his mother agreed to honor his wishes should the unthinkable happen. Kai was a very mature, insightful young man and I thought the world of him because he was so kind and patient with Nate. The unthinkable happened though. Kai awoke with a headache one morning and his Mom took him to the doctor; they gave him some medicine and sent him home. That afternoon, Kai was lying on the couch watching TV when he suddenly rolled off the couch onto the floor. He died of an aneurysm from an undetected brain tumor. Thinking of Kai makes me ... happy ... because I remember what a wonderful young man he was. I cannot stress what a peaceful beautiful person he was. I loved being around him and his family. I also get very teary-eyed and a great big lump forms in my throat at knowing that 1) His family is without him and his presence, although I’ve been told his spirit visits quite often, and I wonder how they are doing during this holiday season, for the first time in twelve years, without Kai and 2) because of his maturity and selflessness and knowing that his and their gift has made the difference in many lives. I’m a hypocrite though. I don’t give blood. No, I wouldn’t mind them sticking a twelve inch needle in my hip to withdraw marrow, but don’t get those other needles anywhere near me. SHAME ON ME!!! I promise, and you guys hold me to this, that I will take the plunge, or the prick, or the stick, and I’m going to give blood by December 25th. Who’s with me? Please, all I ask is that you educate yourself about organ donation and, if you’re so inclined, sign the card... check the box on your driver’s license... tell your family... tell your friends. If you see of a bone marrow drive in your area (its often cheaper for testing), educate yourself and if you believe you have what it takes to follow through with the whole twelve inch needle, discomfort, etc... then get tested. Add your name to the people willing to save a life. From "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran You would know the secret of death. But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life? The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light. If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life. For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
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