I believe that organ donation allows you the chance at the joys of life that medically complicated individuals sometimes have taken away. Everyone deserves that!
I want people to understand how quickly organ donation may be important to them and how positive and hopeful it is for all those involved, both donor families and recipients.
In 2001, during my senior year of college finals, I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. At that time, I was told my life would look very different from the life I had planned. I would have to choose everything in my life based on the limitations of diabetes, my career would look different, and I should reconsider having children.
In 2009, I was a mom, wife, and business owner but had developed nerve damage in my stomach from my diabetes. Several years and hospital stays later, I was recommended for a whole organ pancreas-only transplant. On June 2, 2013, I received a pancreas transplant from a very generous family and deceased donor at Emory University Hospital. Since then, I no longer required insulin, and the nerve damage to my stomach has greatly improved. I now can travel, run my business and enjoy all the activities I want with my husband and 14-year-old son. My 16-year-old donor, Johnny, agreed to donation at his local DMV and in turn, saved and improved dozens of lives.
As a volunteer, I was given an outlet to give back even before I knew who my donor’s family was, but then it became so much more.
It allows me to honor my donor’s gift while also possibly lessening the wait time for someone or even preventing deaths for those waiting by adding to the registry.
Ultimately, I want to disband the myths among organ donation among all communities by putting a personal face and story with the numbers, in turn increasing the registry. No two stories are the same, and I learn something every time I interact in this community. Someone always has a more difficult journey than you, so connect with them any way you can and leave them with some hope that something good is coming!