The ripple effect

organdonorAs a butterfly touches the water on the lake and forms ripples that go on and on, so is the courage of an individual who comes forward as an anonymous kidney donor. Most of us without question would be willing to give a loved one a kidney if they needed it, but how many of us would be willing to go through the pain that is associated with surgery and the risks associated with being a donor for a stranger? The seven donors were all women and mothers. Their bravery, love, kindness and generosity came naturally to them. To these women, there was no question of weather they would be part of the chain and in turn change the lives of not only individual patients, but their families and their communities.

Are you healthy and thinking about giving the gift of life to someone? It’s actually pretty simple really, you can get information here. Organ donation is safe. A potential donor undergoes extensive testing to make sure that they will be ok after donation and will continue to live a full and healthy life after donation. Being an organ donor even after death is a foreign concept for most Africans and I am sure we are not the only one who culturally struggle with this. We recycle everything else, why not recycle ourselves. We won’t need these parts were we are going after we die, when ashes become ashes and dust to dust. May we give life to others when our time here on earth is over. Registering to be an organ donor is simple and quick.  Here is part of an article by Dr. Kenneth Moritsugu that outlines the impact organ donation has, “The power of organ donation to save lives through transplantation”.

Twenty years ago, my wife, Donna Lee Jones, died in a severe automobile accident. Her death was a shock, and my family did not know what to make of our tragedy. Then we were offered the opportunity to donate her organs and tissues for transplantation. While it did not lessen the pain of her loss, it brought comfort to us knowing that out of our tragedy, some good would come, and others could receive the gift of life. Because of her donation, several people received a new lease on life: a man in Tampa, Florida, received her heart; a teenage boy in Washington, D.C., received a kidney and pancreas; a hospital custodian received her other kidney; a woman in Pennsylvania received her liver; and her corneas went to a young woman in Baltimore, Maryland, and a government worker.

Four years later, my 20-year-old daughter, Vikki Lianne, was struck by a car and died. Losing a spouse was tragic enough, but the pain of losing a child cannot be expressed. Falling back on our previous experience, we decided to donate Vikki’s organs and tissues for transplantation. Again, several individuals benefited from her gift: a mother of five children from Upstate New York received her heart; a widow with four children received her lung; a 59-year-old man from Washington, D.C., who was active with a local charity, received her liver; a widower with one daughter received her kidney; a working father received the other kidney; and her corneas went to a 26-year-old man in Florida and a 60-year-old woman in Pennsylvania. And we, her family, took comfort in the idea that Vikki’s legacy was one of life and giving.


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