November is a month of giving THANKS! It is a time that many take the time to enjoy family and friends and to remember all the “Good Things” in their life! Every November begins a new season of “giving,” and it is also a time that many around the world recognize as the “Donor Sabbath” month.
During the National Donor Sabbath, faith leaders, donor families, transplant recipients, and donation and transplantation professionals participate in services and programs to increase awareness. This month we remember the need for the lifesaving, enhanced gifts passed to others through transplantation. It is time we continue to encourage people to say “yes” to the organ donation registry. Those who donate organs, tissues, and blood stem cells restore hope and share gifts beyond measure. The recipients are full of Thanks!
Why is this important to me? On February 3, 2016, I had a heart attack while driving home from the gym. I thought I was having muscle spasms; I pulled over on the side of the road hoping that the pain would pass. It did not pass, in fact, EMS had to pick me up in the parking lot of a corner store. Two days later I was in the hospital waiting for my discharge paperwork when I had my second heart attack. I died with this one! In the words of my youngest son, “the doctors had to put the jumper cables on me.” This was an attempt at his humor as he struggled with what his mom was enduring. That episode caused me to go into heart failure.
Fast forward five months and I find myself in Lexington, KY at the UK Healthcare Heart Transplant Center awaiting a lifesaving heart. I remember asking myself “how did I get here; how did this happen to me?” am I needing a new heart, and if I don’t get one, am I going to die sooner rather than later? It was during this time I remembered that I was registered as an organ donor! It was at that moment that I truly understood the importance of that question asked by the staff of the Kentucky Circuit Clerks’ offices around the state, “Would you like to register as an organ donor?” “Would you like to donate to the organ donor awareness program?” I thought I would be the one giving not the one in need. On July 27, 2016, I received a new heart! They told me it was a perfect match!
I invite you to join me in honoring those who, at the end of their life, gave life! You too can save lives by registering as an organ donor at RegisterMe.org. You never know you or someone you love might need a “perfect match!”