Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Happy 21st Birthday, Dad!

 If you've been following Vivid Hue Home for awhile, you already know how it's possible that my dad is celebrating his "21st birthday" today.  If you're a new follower, let me explain...

On August 25, 1994, my dad received an organ transplant.   Prior to that date, he had been in the transplant recipient program for close to a year and a half.  Once he showed signs of advanced organ failure, he was moved to a critical wait list.  He received a pager (a sign of the times in 1994) and carried it with him day and night in hopes that he would be contacted about a donor.  Within a week of being put on this list, he received the call.

The donor was a sixteen year old teenager who died in a car accident.  Though we have never known the donor or his/her family, their unselfish decision to donate has allowed my family to experience over two additional decades with my dad.  Twenty one years and counting.  My dad was literally given a second chance at life.

So, happy 21st birthday, Dad!

One aspect of organ transplantation I don't know if many understand, is that organ rejection is a constant threat.  There is constant risk for the immune system attacking the transplanted organ.  The recipient must take daily immunosuppressant medications to help prevent rejection, but often there are severe side effects and health conditions that result from taking these drugs.  It's common for doctors to make frequent adjustments to the combination of drugs.  And sometimes, other organs can become at risk due to the prolonged use of these medications.  It's a courageous journey, but one I'll bet most transplant recipients would say is worth it for the reward of life.

The benefits of organ donation are endless.  Not just for my family but for thousands of others.

In 2014, organ donors made close to 30,000 transplants available.

Every 10 minutes, someone is added to the national organ transplant wait list.

On average, 22 people die each day waiting for a transplant.

One donor, can save 8 lives. 
(Above statistics provided by HRSA).

It's easy to become a donor:

  • Designate your decision on your driver's license
  • Tell your family about your donation decision
  • Tell your physician, faith leader, and friends
  • Include donation in your advance directives, will, and living will       
Source: organdonor.gov

You can also register on the Department of Health and Humans Services website here.

Thank you for allowing me to share this with you.  I don't like to use this blog for public service announcements, but this topic is very close to my family.

Wishing my dad a very special day.


1 comment:

Karena said...

Happy Birthday and much thoughtfulness in this post Heather.
You may be saving many more lives!!

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