I really think the cure to eradicating the waitlist is education. I honestly had never even thought about organ donation until I donated Patrick’s organs.
Yes, organ donation has saved my life - just not as a recipient.
Patrick was only 2 1/2 when he died suddenly – not yet potty trained. He was saying a few sentences but not carrying on conversations. He smiled constantly, and people always commented on his curly hair! He found a dead bird once, just before he died, and I tried to explain to him what happens to us when we die. I think God was preparing all of us for what was to come, and even though I will never, ever recover from this great loss, I try to move forward and help others through education about organ, eye, and tissue donation. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I saw God’s hand in the grieving process.
I realized that donating Patrick’s organs was for ME as much, or maybe more than, for his recipients. Without the donation, I wouldn’t be able to tell his story, speak his name, have people in my community and throughout the country know about him.
I have made lifelong friends within the transplant community and count them as very great blessings. My greatest blessing has been through the relationship with the Donor Family Services team, especially Reuben Wright. In the early days, he helped me navigate my grief. Then, he became a friend and mentor. I have had to traverse many other life trials (although none as devastating as the loss of my child), and Reuben has been there through every one of them. I know he is a phone call away, and I can’t think of a bigger blessing than that.
Now that I know about the waitlist, the suffering of the people on the list, and the hopes and prayers of the families/friends of those on the list, I couldn’t bear taking my organs with me where they would serve no purpose. I think any reasonable, caring human (as most are) could see the folly of not donating. They just need to be educated about the need. So, if I can help with that education by sharing Patrick’s story, I say, “Sign me up!”