April is National Donate Life Month and it has been crazy; in a good way. I’ve met some new people and had the opportunity to connect with people I haven’t seen recently. We’ve had the opportunity to set up a few panel discussions with some nursing classes. The panels have consisted of not only recipients, but also family members of people who have donated, living donors and a family member of someone who died waiting. Every story is so important in order to get a complete understanding of the difference that organ donation can make in lives.
At an event yesterday, a woman told of being faced with a decision to donate when her husband passed away 18 years ago. At the time, she knew very little about donation and had never discussed it with her husband. Unfortunately, she did not donate; a decision she has regretted. She took the opportunity to encourage others to have that important discussion. I appreciate her willingness and her courage to share her story because people need to know the “safe” answer is not no; the best decisions are made when a person is educated and able to look at things objectively.
I was able to listen to an 18 year old boy tell a group of business professionals what his transplant has meant to him. He had a heart transplant as a baby and he started off by saying the heart he was using was not his. It was loaned to him for the entire time he remains on earth, but he plans to give it back some day. For some reason, that statement really touched me. He then said that his health created several difficulties and obstacles in his life, but he wouldn’t change any of them; they made him who he is today. He talked about some very simple things that he is grateful to be able to experience, such as sitting on the dock at a lake while on vacation and watching the waves hit the rocks. Thanks to the decision of someone to donate, he is alive to experience those things.
If you are not a registered organ, eye and tissue donor, please consider signing up at www.yesutah.org. You can also register on your driver license or state ID card. If you are already registered, please let others know of your decision.