April is National Donate Life Month, a Special Time For My Family
April is National Donate Life Month. It's a time to bring special attention to the ultimate act of kindness and generosity: organ, eye and tissue donation. It's a simple thing we all can do. It involves very little effort on our parts, and the payoff can be literally lifesaving.
Organ donation is a very important thing in my family. About four years ago, my brother-in-law, and friend, Kevin was diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), or as he said at the time, "This is a fancy way of saying that my kidneys stopped working." He had to go on dialysis to stay alive. That meant he had to hook up to a machine every evening to have his blood cleaned because his kidneys weren't doing it anymore.
At the time he had just finished his bachelor's degree and was preparing to start graduate school. His whole life came apart and changed over the course of a day when his condition was discovered. Friends and family lined up to find out if any of us could be a candidate to donate a healthy kidney to him, but no viable living donor matches were found. So he went on the donor list. Each day waiting for a match to be found. Either a living donor or from a cadaver donor. He waited for about three years for a matching donor kidney to become available.
Then one evening the call came. A person had sadly died in a car accident. But, in life that individual had planned on giving the greatest gift. They had chosen to be an organ donor. Because of this stranger's farsighted kindness, they live on in Kevin. He, like so many other people, are alive today because someone chose to be a donor.
When the accident had taken a life, that person made sure that that tragedy would have some meaning. A generous amount of good could still be put into the world.
None of us can choose the time we leave the Earth. But each of us can do a simple thing that ensures that the gift of our lives is passed along. We can be donors.
According to Donate Life Wyoming, nearly 150 people in the Cowboy State are waiting for donations. One donor can save up to eight lives thanks to the various organ donations they could make. The number of lives saved from tissue donation can be even higher.
Our family was blessed by this act of kindness, and hopefully we all can pass it on during our time here and beyond.