I was first impacted by organ/tissue donation at the young age of 2. My mom, Myrl Bandy, tragically died in an auto accident, and her donated cornea restored the eyesight to a very grateful lady. Organ donation was the topic of my very first speech in 6th grade. Little did I know, my life would be further impacted years later. Mike Bandy, my father, had a heart attack when he was 39 years old. Over the next several years, he faced multiple procedures and physician appointments to battle his slowly declining health. It was in July, 2009 that my dad was faced with the reality that he needed to be added to the heart transplant waiting list. In September, 2009, Dad had an open heart procedure to receive an LVAD to help his heart pump. It was a short 6 months later, on March 13, 2010, that Dad received his new heart. The donor was a 26 year old young man, whose family understood that lives could be saved and changed through their generous donation. Dad was able to attend my graduation from physical therapy school 2 months following his transplant. He was able to give me advice in deciding where I wanted to accept my first job offer as a PT. He was able to meet, and approve, of my husband. He was able to meet his first grandson and watch him grow. He was able to see me succeed in life, work, and live out my dreams. Dad always asked if I was happy, and if I wasn’t, he assured me that it was up to me to change what wasn’t making me happy. He taught me to live life to the fullest. He taught me to spend quality time with the ones I care about. I couldn’t have found anyone to support me any more than what my daddy did. Dad passed away December 21, 2014. As a result, he was able to donate his cornea and restore the eyesight of two men. Dad was a huge supporter of organ donation, for good reason. He would have wanted nothing more than to be able to change someone’s life through organ and tissue donation. I am committed to being an advocate for organ and tissue donation. Lives are saved and impacted with someone simply saying “yes”.
**UPDATE on Ms. Joiner: "I have a wonderful new story. As of January 27, 2013 I became the recipient of a kidney. I received it at Jewish Hospital in Louisville. My old story was that I was on dialysis for 3 and a half years, I had Lupus nephritis. I finally got a call on Saturday the 26 of January that they had a match. So far things have gone smoothly, I feel healthier everyday, and I know it will just get better. I am so grateful to my organ donor and the family that let it happen. Someday in the future I wish I could meet them and thank them. I know it is to soon for that, but that is what I hope will happen. Right now I am just the happiest person on this earth, I can't quit smiling! Everyone please talk to your family about organ donation before it is too late to know how they feel. It is easier than ever to register online at www.donatelifeky.org. You never know whose life you may save, it could be a member of your family." -Carol My name is Carol Joiner, I live in Madisonville, the county seat of Hopkins County, Kentucky. In the summer of 2009, I was blindsided by a disease called Lupus Nephritis. It literally destroyed my kidneys. My nephrologist tried many things including dialysis to try to save my kidneys, but it did not happen. I am now on 2 transplant lists hoping to get a new kidney, someday. I am still on dialysis. If I do not get a kidney , I will be on dialysis for the rest of my life. My best hope at getting a new kidney is from an organ donor, deceased or alive. That brings me to one of the most important subject in my life right now and that is to encourage everyone to become an organ donor. It is very simple, just go to WWW.DONATELIFEKY.ORG and register. I registered to become an organ donor about 4 years ago when one of my son’s best friends was killed in a car accident, he was an organ donor, when I found that out I thought what an admirable thing for him to do at such a young age. I immediately got myself signed up to be an organ donor. Little did I know at the time that I would need an organ some day. It is a very simple thing for people of all ages to do. You never know whose life you may save someday. It could be mine!!
In 2005 I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a weakening of the heart muscle. When the diagnosis was made, it was discovered that my heart was functioning at only 11% of its capacity. I received a defibrillator, but knew ultimately I would need a heart transplant to survive. After months of testing, I was placed on the national waiting list for a transplant. For a year and half I carried a pager with me, praying to be notified that a life-saving heart transplant could be performed. On March 2, 2007, I received the call I had been waiting for; I was going to receive a transplant. The plane ride to the hospital was full of emotions. I was relieved and thankful that a donor heart was available, but I couldn’t help but think about the family leaving hospital that had just lost a loved one. I never found out who my donor was, but given the opportunity to meet his or her family, I would hold the hand of my donor’s mother and say thank you. Thank you for giving me hope.