Between the Christmas and New Years holidays is a brief period of time during which we are uniquely posed to contemplate some of life’s big questions. As we leave the season that celebrates generosity and family, we are on the brink of a new year, and selecting resolutions to reorient ourselves to what really matters. It is a time, perhaps, to think of something we’d rather ignore - the possibility of being an organ donor.
The facts about organ donation, by themselves, do not always reflect the awesome and humbling magnitude of such a gift. The health care providers who tried to save the organ donor are some of the people very affected by the experience. After an organ donation has been done, the agency that matches the organs to the people who need them usually send a letter to these providers, and the donor’s family, describing the condition and outcome of those who received the organs. These notes of real people and their real lives honor the true gift of organ donation in a way no statistical or intellectual analysis ever could. Below are some excerpts from such a letter sent after a family tragically lost a child and agreed to have that child’s organs donated:
Angel's (not her real name) liver was transplanted into a 3 year old female from the northeast who was born with a liver disease. She lives with per parents and has an older sister who also had the disease and received a liver transplant. Her doctors say she is doing GREAT! She ate her first M & M ever and loved it. She is described as a busy little girl playing continuously with everything. Her parents are so grateful to Angel's family for their generosity.
Angel's heart was transplanted into a 4 year old girl from the Northeast who was in critical condition with only days to live. Her new heart had immediate function. She is described as a beautiful little girl who loves to play with her toddler sister. Her parents would like Angel's family to know that they are eternally grateful.
Angel's kidneys were transplanted into a 62 year old gentleman who suffered from diabetes. He now plans on marrying his long time love. He would like Angel's family to know that he is so grateful for giving him his life back.
From this family’s courage and grace in the worst of all circumstances, three other lives were saved. Organ donation is an incredibly personal decision. So please, in the midst of the season’s parties and festivities, take pause and think of what your wishes would be were your family in that situation - then let them know. Here’s wishing you a happy and safe new year from EMMC.