Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gift of Life

If you are a regular visitor to The Fringe, you undoubtedly have been monitoring my birthday gift list. (I'm still waiting for the packages to start arriving...still waiting...)

Today, in all seriousness I am asking for one gift from each of you. The gift of life. I am encouraging each and everyone of you to sign your organ donor cards, register on appropriate data bases and inform your family that if, heaven forbid, anything should happen to you, that you would like to donate your internal organs to someone who desperately needs the gift of life.

By now you have probably heard of the tragic death of Natasha Richardson. This is so very sad. My heart goes out to her family - especially her loving husband and young sons.

Yesterday the media had so many conflicting stories and rumors. It was very confusing. Being a head-injury survivor I was very interested in the story and started looking for news on the internet.

I read an article that indicated that Ms. Richardson had been air-transported from a hospital in Montreal to a hospital in New York. I thought perhaps that Lenox Hill hospital was a medical facility hat specialized in brain-injuries. But the information I found basically classified the hospital as having a speciality in cardiac care.

That got me thinking.

Perhaps they moved her to NY so that she could be closer to family. I began to wonder why that hospital. And here is what I am hoping: I hope that she had made the decision to be an organ donor and that she had communicated her wishes to her family. If her head injury was severe then, perhaps, she was being transported closer to home, and that if she did pass away, she would be closer to family and also able to give the gift of life to someone else.

I have no idea of what Natasha Richmond's wishes were in terms of organ donation. Yes, I am sad for her and her family - a tragic loss for certain - but by all accounts she was a healthy, generous, caring being. I hope and pray that the most selfless decision was communicated and acted upon. Based on my personal knowledge and experience of a closed-head trauma - Ms. Richardson would have made an idea organ transplant donor. My heart aches that she suffered this injury. But the lives she could save...oh what a precious gift that would be...

Sadly, perhaps through her death, we can all become a bit more educated in brain-injuries, the importance of wearing helmets and protective gear, and that the gift of life is the ultimate gift we can give, once we are gone from this earth.

The fluke accident that happened to Natasha Richardson, could happen at any time to any of us. You just never know...that is the scary part.

I hope that none of us have to face the painstaking decision that Ms. Richardson's family had to make to turn off the respirator. I hope none of us ever need face such a terrible hardship. But I also pray that Ms. Richardson's family, and any of us who may one day face this unspeakable burden, that we all consider, and hopefully commit to helping to save someone else, when we, or someone we love are in a similar position.

Here are a few additional resources and information sources on organ donation:

For my birthday, I would like my gift to be informing my family and friends of my intentions. I would like to be an organ donor. I want to give the gift of life, when mine has ended. Do you?


Tara R. said...

I've had that designation on my license for years. When my son got his driver's permit last summer, he checked the donor box too. Giving the gift of life, what a wonderful way to continue your legacy.

Kat said...

I LOVE this post!
I have definitely signed my drivers id card and also told the hubby (and he did as well). We are very clear on our wishes. Whatever is needed, they can have. We won't be needing them in the afterlife.

I also urge people to get on the list of registered bone marrow donors so that if you are a match for someone you can be easily found. The more people registered the more people saved. It is so easy. All you have to do is get your finger pricked. You could save lives! And it is not a majorly difficult procedure. Get out there people! :)

becci said...

I am an Organ donor ;)

Scott said...

Hi Laura, I just came across this post as I do work for Donate Life Illinois. Thanks for calling attention to such a crucial issue. With April coming up as National Donate Life Month, we recently created this video that I thought might be of interest:

Thanks again.