Bill receives inspirational stories each day through email from a website he likes. He received the one below on Friday. After reading it, he said he didn’t think much of it until he went to my blog and read my Friday post about donating life, and the gifts Jill gave of her organs. I can’t help but think this is how the recipients of Jill’s organs and their families must feel today. I find it to be no coincidence that these came to Bill on the same day! I thought this man’s story might encourage you as it encouraged him and as it encourages me!
A CHANCE TO LIVE
By Ed Mitchell
Your choice to donate was so right.
Written to honor the unknown family from Arizona who in December 2000 donated the gift of life in a time of grief -upon the death of a child.
My first kidney transplant was in July 1991 and ended in just 3 months. After serious infections, the donated kidney showed signs of failure. Its removal was inevitable to save my life. As signs of rejection occurred it brought all kinds of actions by my transplant team. Next as I slip into a coma, my family was given little hope I would live. God would intervene and use the skills provided by the team to bring back my life and avoid death at the age of 37. At one point, I was given no hope of survival, but I did, despite all odds. Although all this happened, it was still the best course of action because it allowed me an opportunity to prevent the dreaded alternative of dialysis 3 times a week. During those months, I learned that an organ transplant is a treatment and not a cure and comes with many pitfalls.
After 10 years on dialysis a true miracle occurred, when on December 6, 2000, I received a call from the transplant team that a possible match was available. Transplantation is so unlike other surgery or hospital stays. First, the long awaited call comes without warning telling me that a kidney is available. In moments, by my acceptance, I implied my willingness to do everything possible to keep as healthy as possible in preparation for the major operation the following day. Also I knew this time by my acceptance that it would bring daily activities, since I would have to constantly be diligent to follow my doctor’s advice and follow endless preventative measures to insure that “Nick”, my donated kidney would work long and give me a more productive life.
Please know that I will always remember my donor’s sacrifice and my donor family’s special love, and that while I am not keeping your child alive, by your choice I am keeping your gift of life, the kidney alive. Please know that it is a most humbling experience to get a donation from an unanticipated death of a child, your most precious possession. I knew it took all of your own inward courage to donate while still grieving and to give to me, a stranger, the gift of life.
By making the choice to accept the kidney, I have learned in time to deal with the sometimes-overwhelming feelings and found the inward strength needed to conquer those feelings. In part, that has happened due to your love, which has helped me, deal with all the feelings that come from just being so grateful to receive this kidney and end my many years of weekly dialysis.
Since 2000 Nick has worked great, and while I have often faced additional problems over the years I have been able to start working again. I have also discovered that what is most important is that I continue to know where my true confidence and strength lies, and that it’s not within myself but in my strong belief and faith in God that has helped me to a greater understanding of situations, and to get through whatever happens in my life’s journey as well as my final destination.
I close with my prayer for you, and all organ donors that you too will also find a joy and peace from God by knowing you made the right choice when you gave the gift of life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Ed Mitchell, 53 divorced and lives in Orlando, Florida. He enjoys swimming, camping, and RV. He is an Eagle and Moose and active in church and the transplant community having received 2 kidney transplants.
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