The Biggest Thanks for the Smallest Things
This will sound strange. But after I was given a new heart, the thing I was most grateful for was being able to reach my shoes without passing out.
When I was sick, something as simple as bending over would cut my wind off. Going up a flight of stairs was a 15-minute journey. I could only go a few steps without stopping to rest.
Life for me then was just praying I would get to see my daughter graduate high school, then it was please just let me see her graduate college, then it was just let me give her a graduation party.
That’s two lives saved right there.
Now, 12 years after my transplant, my family tries to keep up with me! I’m the happiest and the healthiest I have been in a very long time, and grateful -- so very grateful.
Not Wasting the Second Chance
For me, to be alive and spreading the word about what an organ donor can do, that’s a second chance to live life better than I did. I talk to a lot of teenagers in area high schools, because they are the ones that are getting ready to register to be organ donors now, and I get others to sign up too. I tell them how one donor can save or enhance the lives of up to 50 people. I talk about the night I received my transplant and how the donor who gave me a heart also donated lungs to the patient who was next to me. That’s two lives saved right there.
Someone gave me a plaque that says: ‘to the world you may be one person, but to one person you are the world.’ That’s how I feel about my donor. Every donor -- they are heroes, and they’ll never be forgotten. There’s not a moment that goes by that I don’t say “thank you.” And I know every other organ and tissue recipient feels the same way.