Yesterday was a particularly busy day, my back hurt and I have a cold. I needed to go to the doctor, work out with the trainer, and attend a work event after office hours. I started my day at 5 a.m. and was able to schedule everything in, but by the end of the day I was definitely not my energetic self! Honestly, I was not looking forward to staying at the office for what was usually my favorite Lifeline of Ohio event of the year, the candlelight vigil.
Volunteers started to arrive, and I found myself in the restroom with a 5-year-old who had to "pee so bad she was going to pee her pants outside." Now this is no ordinary 5-year-old, in addition to being adorable, smart, and ornery she has lived through numerous heart surgeries and finally a heart transplant during her brief time on this Earth. Seeing her run into that bathroom gave me goosebumps.
When I left the restroom, I ran into a family wearing sweatshirts asking families to talk to their children about guns. Their son died because of a hand gun accident. Not only did they share the gift of life by facilitating organ donation, they were working hard to spread the word about the importance of gun safety.
Suddenly I was surrounded by heroes. The candlelight vigil serves as a visual testament to the power of the lives that are touched by donation and transplantation. A candle is lit for each of the 650 individuals in central Ohio awaiting a life-saving organ transplant. The ceremony provides hope for more than 94,000 people waiting for an organ. I got to talk to a young mother who is currently in liver failure awaiting a liver transplant. She gets up every morning hoping to get the call that will allow her to raise her 3- and 5-year-old. I spoke to a young couple who had to say good-bye to their little boy when he died waiting for a heart transplant and the call never came. This couple is not bitter -- they volunteer at Lifeline to raise awareness about the need for organ donation.
The vigil remembers the donors and the families who facilitated donation at a terrible time in their lives. A mother who lost her daughter just days before her high school graduation and facilitated the donation of seven life saving organs, asked me about my children and how I was doing with them both out of the house. The vigil is a celebration for all transplant recipients; it reminds us that without the generosity of the donors and the families we would not get to know that 5-year-old who had to pee, or the little one playing in the parking lot who recently received a heart transplant. These two children may find a cure for cancer.
These people are my heroes, my inspiration. My back doesn't hurt anymore and my cold is resolving. I can't believe how lucky I am -- Self and GMA have given me a great opportunity to get myself back in shape, and if it's meant to be someday (not for a very long time) my organs are going to ready to be recycled!
April 17 -- The Season Begins
"The Season" has officially started. The season is the time of year when we receive the most invitations. Weddings, graduations, and sporting events always seem to consume the weekends in the spring. We started the season this weekend with a trip to Charlottesville for rugby finals. It was a great weekend, our son played, the team won (Virginia Rugby Club), and it looks like we're going to get home safe!