Our family’s experience with organ donation was not what we expected, but nonetheless, it changed our life in a beautiful way. My husband suffered from End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) due to previous chemotherapy-related nephrotoxicity. He died from cardiac complications of his disease while awaiting transplant. His journey was fraught with many medical setbacks that constantly impeded his ability to stay on the waiting list.
When my husband died, I was approached by a nurse who asked if I wanted to speak to someone about organ and tissue donation. Although my husband was medically complex, we were able to donate his corneas, skin and bones, which will help several people live healthier, happier lives.
I want to tell you that I was present when my husband died. The medical professionals handling his care that day worked to no avail to save his life. At the end of the day, while his life couldn’t be saved, he ameliorated countless others. He died a hero, and these donations represent a constant source of peace and pride for my ten-year-old son and me.
Liver and kidney donation are opportunities for both cadaver and living donation. Please educate yourself and those around you on the importance and value of organ and tissue donation. Register to be a donor and please ensure your family is cognizant of your donor status. Please work to help increase awareness and dispel the many myths that still preclude folks from wanting to become donors. The decision to donate in no way compromises the clinical care you would receive if your life was on the line.
The need for organ donors remains great. My husband’s indomitable spirit will live on in those he helps, and yours can, too.
Below please find a picture of the prayer cards disseminated at his Celebration of Life, which tell others about Eric’s donations in hopes of increasing awareness.
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