April is National Donate Life Month. I am a huge advocate for organ donation. I volunteer whenever I can and I have met some wonderful, amazing people while doing so. The need for organ donation is great and it is so easy to help, all you have to do is sign a donor card or the back of your driver's license, then be sure to let your family know you want to donate your organs. According to UNOS, the United Network for Organ Sharing, as of today at 6:00 pm, there are 101,792 candidates awaiting an organ transplant!!
(My mother Jerri, Christmas 2003)
My beautiful mother Jerri, died suddenly Aug 7, 2004 from a ruptured brain aneurysm and she was an organ donor. I know for a fact, there is a lady in North Carolina who spent years on dialysis waiting for a kidney. She has a son who was planning her funeral instead of planning for her to watch him graduate high school. There is a man in New York, who had to stop working and was living a life of pain, watching his family grieve for him while waiting for a liver. There is an older lady in Tennessee and a gentleman in South Carolina who couldn't see their children, the beauty of a sunrise or spring flowers blooming. ALL of those folks received Mom's organs! There are countless others who received her tissue donations as well!
(Mom with one of her hand-fed baby birds she raised.)
Losing my mother was the hardest thing I have ever gone through, the pain is still great, especially on those special days, Mother's Day, Christmas, my birthday, etc. BUT knowing that someone else is living and enjoying life because of Mom eases that pain somewhat. Mom would have been 66 years old this coming Mon. April 20. Yet another day that makes this month a hard month for me. When those special days roll around I find myself thinking of her organ recipients and wishing like crazy that I could hear from them. I think I'm ready to write them a letter, let them know a little about Mom and see how they are doing.
(Mom, 4 months before she passed away)
According to the policies and protocol surrounding organ donation, recipients and the donor family can indeed get in touch with one another IF both parties want that. Either side would write a letter then send it on to the donor organization that handled our services. Mine would be Mountain Region Donor Services. These are the most caring, wonderful people I have met. I have made quite a few friends through them, both during Mom's donation process and through volunteering for them. So I think I will write something to her recipients and hope that they want to communicate with me.
I've been told by other recipients it was hard for them to contact their donor families. They were afraid of bringing more pain on the family or opening up a wound that was beginning to heal. They have also told me they didn't have words to say to the donor families. Thank You just doesn't seem like enough to them. I promise you, I am not looking for a thank you anyway. I am looking for a way to see that Mom's organs have made a difference in someone's life. I mean I know it has, I just want to SEE it or READ of it. Wish me luck that I will get a response.
This post grows long and believe me, I could go on and on and on about this subject. Yet another reason I volunteer for MRDS and try to get the word out about donation.
If you would like to know more about it, if you are contemplating donating your organs and have questions, please, please, PLEASE feel free to ask me anything about it. I promise I will help you all I can and if I don't have the answer right then, I will find out for you and get back to you. I promise.
For now, I'm out of here and I'll be back with you next time with another cause I care about, you see, April is also Autism Awareness Month.
(My second cousin Kolby, the reason I support Autism Awareness)