Remember Lifebanc? It’s our local organ donation/procurement agency. Each state, or many areas of larger states, has an organ donation and procurement agency which promotes organ donation awareness, assists UNOS in organ procurement, and is an asset to both donor families and recipients. I became involved with them last year before I even knew my surgery was imminent. I became trained as an Ambassador but was never healthy enough to help with any events. I promised them after my transplant, I’d get going in health fairs, school classes, whatever – helping any way I could. The organization is a huge reason getting a liver was possible for me, and I could never give back enough. So, my heart was overjoyed when I started volunteering this month.
First we went to the annual Cleveland Home & Garden Show and I stood at a table and recruited donors and encouraged existing donors. I am so excited that in my few hours there, I encouraged four people to sign up to be organ and tissue donors. I shared my story, our stories, and answered their questions. Four people filled out the forms and signed their names, and up to 32 organs can now be transplanted, up to 200 lives changed. What a gift they’re giving.
Next, I went to a Jewish confirmation class with a few students and their parents. It was Organ Donation night in the “death” portion of their curriculum, and the education coordinator at Lifebanc brought me along to share my story. It was my first speaking event, and I was so nervous, but the group started asking so many questions before I got too far down my notes. We had a really great discussion, and their questions were so thoughtful and detailed. I hope I was able to share what a difference a donor made for my life, and how important organ donation is. They’ll all be getting their drivers’ licenses soon and have parents who were genuinely interested, so we left the event very hopeful.
My third event this month was attending a high school basketball game. It was a big event – rival teams – and they were honoring a student who received a liver transplant in November. I dragged one of my best friends along, and we tried to recruit donors and thank existing donors for their choice. It wasn’t the most successful night, but that doesn’t matter. I’m learning it’s important to get our cause out there, whether people sign up, refuse, or go home to think about it.
My schedule lately has been busier than ever, and I’m doing more than I ever have in my life, and somehow fitting this in as well. It’s amazing to me. A year ago, I would have never been able to keep up this pace, live this loud, love this hard, work this long, and give this much.
Each day I check my mailbox in hopes of a response from my donor family. I know it may not ever come, and I’m okay with that, but it would really touch me to hear more about the boy whose death enabled my life. I want to know more about him, his life, his hopes and dreams. I want his family to know I am living my life in honor of him and hope to live all the things he never got a chance to.
Spring is here in Ohio today. It’s not here for long, but we’re still enjoying it anyways. Although capri leggings and wedge sandals have me pretty hyped up, I’m also feeling so blessed to serve the God of new beginnings, the One who sends sunshine after dark nights. 🙂