Today is the funeral for a friend and colleague of Tom’s. It’s the second one in about 6 weeks. It’s been a rough couple of months for his company; two funerals and another colleague diagnosed with advanced liver cancer. It’s a small company, so this is hitting everyone pretty hard. The funeral today is especially hard. Kenn was only 46. He died of congestive heart failure, while on the wait list for a heart transplant. This man lived more life in his 46 years than some people twice his age. I read his obit and was amazed. He was also hysterically funny. I adored him because he made me, and more importantly, my husband laugh. Anyone who can make Tom laugh is a friend (weird senses of humor appreciate each other). We knew Kenn was ill, and had been for some time, but we had no idea he was this ill.
So please, live your life, enjoy your life, and then share life. Let everyone you know that you want to be an organ donor. Sign your drivers’ license. Post it on your blog. Scream it to the skies. Put it in your will (you do have one, right?) in big honkin’ letters. Once you’re gone, you don’t need those parts anymore and so many people do. Modern science has made it possible for organ donation so please, please be someone’s hero. I know people who have had donations, I know someone who is on a wait list for lungs, he is only 31. Please, this is needed.
Kenn will be so very missed. He left behind so many friends and family.
Hey, world…I want to be an organ donor. Don’t bury ’em, give ’em away.
My Heart Transplant
My blog will take you through my personal experience of having a heart transplant. It will show the importance of organ donation. It will give guidance in case you or a loved one have to go through the transplant experience.
If the averages held, on the day I received my new heart 18 other people died somewhere in the U.S. because there wasn’t a heart, kidney, liver or other organ available to save them. That makes me a very lucky guy.
I now have a chance to see my first two grandchildren this year. Both my daughter and my daughter-in-law are pregnant. Even more importantly my father, who has inoperable pancreatic cancer, has a chance to see his first two great granchildren before he dies.
What do you do when you have been blessed with a second chance in life? That’s an individual decision for everyone. I decided to organize CODA. The aim is to provide financial help to the less fortunate for the cost of prescription drugs and medical costs. It also awards scholarships to young organ recipients to help them with school costs. It is a 501 (c)(3) charity so financial contributions are deductible according to state and federal law.
Organ recipients have to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their life. If they don’t, they will die. Many people cannot afford the costs involved in a transplant. Through CODA I’m trying to help. You can visit our website at http://www.codacharity.org.
Don’t be intimidated by the “Make a Donation” button. It’s not asking for you to donate an organ. It merely takes you to “Paypal” if you’d like to make a secure tax-deductible charitable contribution via the Internet. Thanks and I hope you enjoy reading about my personal experience.
Any day is a great day for a patient to receive a transplant, but to receive my heart on Valentine’s Day, 2004 is very special to me and my family.