Sunday, April 25, 2010

National Donate Life Month

When we first learned about Sam's CHDs, we were told several different figures regarding how long he might live.  At first it was three years old, then sixteen, then forty!  But no matter what figure we were given, it was usually followed by mention of needing a heart transplant to make it past that figure.  Everyone KNOWS about organ donation.  But you certainly don't consider the roller coaster of the whole process until you live it. 

That's not saying we have LIVED it.  At first we just knew it was something we would likely face in our future.  Then, as part of my coping mechanism, I researched it as a serious, probable event in our future.  But recently I have been forced to face the step by step process as lived by some of our heart family friends.  Recently, a sweet girl from our own circle of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta heart friends, Emery, was listed and recieved a heart in about 24 hours!  We followed a little boy, Mason, who lives on the other side of the US, be listed for months before getting his heart.  We have watched a young girl from our hometown, Grace, survive and thrive for years after her transplant when she was just weeks old.  The ups and downs and joys and pain of these kids and families is truly awe inspiring.  I can't imagine going through all of it, and yet some day, unless some other technology is developed, we will indeed go through all of it. 

I have recently become attatched to reading a blog by an adult CHD survivor.  I think the reason I have become so attatched is because he has Tricuspid Atresia, which is Sam's root CHD.  This man is so grounded and so full of faith.  He's a master musician, a husband, and a father.  He's what I pray Sam will become.  A few years ago, after starting his family, his heart began to fail.  He was listed for transplant and waited a year for a donor.  He is a transplant survivor, and is thriving.  It gives me hope for a future for Sam that involves all the normal things that go along with adulthood, including the posibility of a fulfilling life with a WHOLE heart.

This month is National Donate Life Month.  Please know how important it is for you to be an organ donor, and to let your wishes be known to your family (and not just to your drivers license issuer).  And as difficult of a topic as it is to think about, please consider it for your family members, too.  There are 89 children between the age of 1 and 5 who are waiting for a heart right now (that's Sam's age group).  Your selfless act could save multiple lives (and one day, even Sam's life). 


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