Monday, April 16, 2012

Organ Donation: The Greatest Gift


April is Organ Donation Awareness Month, so I've decided to repeat this post from last year's A to Z Challenge.

The Chicago Tribune cover story, Just a Liver Transplant Among Friendly Neighbors, by Michelle Manchir, told how two residents in a suburban subdivision banned together to save their friend who needed a liver transplant. A 41 year old man who was suffering from the same rare liver disease that took Walter Payton's life, was fortunate enough to have one neighbor offer to "remove a portion of the donor's liver and place it in the ill person's body. The liver is the only interior organ that regenerates--typically in about three months."

When the surgeon found scarring on the first woman's liver, another neighbor offered to take her place. Now all three neighbors "share surgery scars above their belly buttons." They are doing well , and the recipient is thankful to both women for risking their lives to save his. According to the recipient, "They really don't act like it's anything special. They're just crazy, wonderful, amazing people."

Both my husband and my brother received organ donations. My husband underwent two cornea transplants, and my brother received a healthy kidney almost seven years ago.

Due to a complicate medical history, my brother was told that he could be on a waiting list for 5-10 years or longer. Fortunately, he received a call a year and a half later on his 47th birthday from the transplant team. He owes his life to a cadaver donor.

Today, my brother is a healthy, energetic 53 year old who often wears his nephews out whether they're lifting weights or playing basketball. He strongly believes that "everyone should be a donor regardless of religious beliefs, because you can save several lives by donating your organs. It's morally wrong to be a recipient and not a donor."

April is Organ Donation Awareness Month, and it's easy to become a donor by checking off the box when you renew your driver's license. or by registering at Our family is extremely grateful for the gifts we've been given, and are proud to pay it forward.


  1. A most important word and one everyone should heed. Thanks for raising this issue.


  2. What a great post - and so important. I don't understand why people wouldn't donate - it's not like you need your organs when you're no longer living!

  3. I have a good friend who just received the gift of a heart; so wonderful. My son Matthew had ACL knee reconstruction and received tendon from a cadaver donor. We regrettably didn't have the opportunity to do any donating Gretchen and Eric died in the accident, the circumstances were such that it wasn't possible.

  4. Got it marked on my license that they can help themselves to whatever healthy parts they find when I'm gone.

    Important topic. Thanks for the repost.

  5. Thank you for this important message. My card is marked also, but everyone needs to be reminded to do it. Why not help save another person's life!!

  6. Absolutely I'm an organ donor and hope that when, far in the future I'm hoping, I die, my organs will go to those who need them so they can continue in the grand journey of life. Great post topic!

  7. Such a simple thing to do to save a life.

  8. I had a friend/co-worker that had a liver transplant. It's amazing how far they have come with this kind of surgery in the last 20 years.

  9. Love this post! A co-worker of mine needed a lung transplant. It was heart breaking watching her try and get on the list, and then waiting even after she was there. I can't imagine not checking off that little box. I definitely don't need my organs when I'm gone, but someone else could!

  10. Extremely awesome post. I'm trying not to cry right now. I honor and admire families who are so unselfish as to to able to make that choice in the face of very trying times. yes, I will check off that little box!

  11. Here in Spain you need the spouse's consent. We've told each other to give away any organs in case of early death. Hopefully I'll die so old that nobody will want my innards! Just in case, though. . .

  12. Donating is a truly selfless act of generosity. My sister and my cousin can see today because cornea donations.

  13. Yvonne - Thanks and I couldn't agree more!

    Talli - Maybe some people are afraid of the unknown. That's why it's important to get the word out. Thanks Talli!

    Jen - I'm so glad that your friend who had the heart transplant is doing well, and I'm also glad that Matthew's knee is okay. In the tragic situation with Gretchen and Eric there was nothing anyone could have done. Words cannot express how sorry I am.

    L.G. - That's the spirit L.G.!

    Mary - You're absolutely right!

    Libby - Yay and I like "the grand journey of life!"

    Delores - It really is!

    Tonja - I hope your friend is doing okay, and it is amazing how many successful transplants are being performed now. But there still is a great need for donors.

    Valerie - I hope that your friend was able to have a successful lung transplant. Just getting on the list is half the battle and usually it is a long wait. Thanks Valerie!

    Judy - These stories are touching, but the nice thing is that we can still do something to help others. Thanks for checking off the box!

    Sean - The goal is for us all to live long, healthy lives, but it is good to be on the list "just in case!" Thanks Sean!

    Yvonne - I'm so glad that your sister and cousin had successful cornea transplants! We owe so much to the donors! Julie

  14. Great idea to repost this. I'm so glad your brother is doing so well with his kidney transplant! I worked in a dialysis clinic many years ago and it broke my heart to see how difficult life was for the patients undergoing dialysis. I can't even imagine dealing with that. Also so interesting that your husband received a corneal transplant, that's something I haven't heard about as much but what an amazing gift. Wonderful post, Julie.

  15. Julie,
    There's nothing you need to say; I'm convinced this is the right thing for me. :) So glad to hear your family benefitted from this!

  16. Thanks Lynn!

    Julie - My dad was on dialysis, so my brother knows how fortunate he is! I'm sure that you were very helpful in cheering up those patients. My husband had two cornea transplants on the same eye,so we are all very grateful! Thanks Julie!

    Tracy - May I at least say thank you?! Julie

  17. Hi Julie, great post. What a wonderful birthday gift for your brother to receive, the gift of a healthy kidney.