Tag Archives: donating organs

APRIL 15 –Every Day is Awareness Day Here

grassy cat sharp

Caitlin at home, summer 2014

I made Caitlin pose for this photo (almost 2 years ago) — but I like it and she said “ok” to putting it up to raise organ donor awareness during organ donor awareness month. Caitlin has been on the waiting list since APRIL 24, 2014. Two years! And she’s not alone in her wait. There’s a rally going on in downtown Pittsburgh as I write, informing passersby that 138,000 people are currently waiting for organs in the USA.

Are you a donor? I’ve been one since age 16. It takes two secs to register. You can’t take them with you but you can leave a bit of yourself behind and save a life.
http://www.organdonor.gov/becomingdonor/stateregistries.html

–Maryanne

JULY 14–The Unthinkable Transplant, (Linked essay by Caitlin)

Caitlin & Andrew in 2013 Looking Good/Feeling Bad

In 2013: Looking Good. Feeling Bad

In this column for the Cystic Fibrosis Lifestyle Foundation, Caitlin talks about how the word “transplant” always terrified her.

It terrified me, too.

But that’s for another day. Right now, at 8:47pm on Monday, July 13, as I write this, there’s a rainbow over Pittsburgh, and Caitlin’s on the balcony with it.

Read the entirety of her thoughts here: The Unthinkable Transplant

rainbow

-Maryanne

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APRIL 24–“The timeless, repetitive waiting.”

michener(1)Well, today marks one year on the transplant list. On April 24, 2014, Caitlin wrote a blog post about what was ahead. And what was ahead has turned out to be a very long wait.

I was telling a friend that it reminds me of the beautiful show and Pulitzer Prize-winning book, (TALES OF THE) SOUTH PACIFIC. During WWII, a group of servicemen and women in the South Pacific wait to be called to war. The pace is languid, with many beautiful moments. Then, when the waiting period has begun to feel eternal—BAM!—the fighting starts, the planes take off. Everyone goes into action, the languid days over forever.

We’ve had some lovely days that we will probably, in some future time, look back upon with longing. But right now, Caitlin is uncomfortable; everything is a struggle for her. So we are ready, and hoping.

–Maryanne

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APRIL 1–Lots of “Months”

Photo: Justin Posey

Photo: Justin Posey

My lighter side loves April Fool’s Day. My literary side loves National Poetry Month. But our beautiful Caitlin has been waiting almost a year for a lung transplant, and what’s most on my mind is that April is also Donor Awareness Month. So click on the photo for a poem that rethinks the way we think about organ donation.

I’ve been a registered donor since age 16–here’s a link to your state’s registry if you’d like to register, too.  http://www.organdonor.gov/becomingdonor/stateregistries.html

–Maryanne

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MARCH 15–Winter to Spring

By Stephanie Danforth

Art by Stephanie Danforth

Today marks three months here, but this beautiful painting, which our wonderful friend, Stephanie Danforth, recently painted and sent to Caitlin, reminds us that spring is imminent, and that every day spent waiting means one fewer day to wait.

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–Maryanne

May 27 – The Start of Summer, & Waiting

photo

We’ve been getting  a lot of questions that make us realize that the average person doesn’t realize just how scarce organs are. But scarcity is why people wait so long, and generally have to be far sicker than they need to be before surgery. Last year, donations of all organs were, unfortunately, down in the United States.

I’ve been an organ donor since the day I received my first driver’s license at age 16. Donation has always made complete sense to me, and now that we are on the needing end, I can’t imagine the trauma of knowing that there would be no hope if transplantation was not an option, if organ donation did not exist.

Many years ago, we lost Nick’s brother Willie to a brain aneurysm. A young man that stood tall and seemingly healthy was with us one morning, gone by evening.  Willie had a one-year old daughter. His wife was pregnant with their son. The only positive thing that came out of that awful tragedy was that seven people were saved and helped via the gift of life from Willie.

From the Mayo Clinic, here is some comforting talk about the myths of organ donation: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/consumer-health/in-depth/organ-donation/art-20047529

You have to make a bit of an effort to be a donor, but only a bit. Here’s how:

❤ First, sign up with your state’s donor registry:  http://www.organdonor.gov/becomingdonor/stateregistries.html

❤ Designate your decision on your driver’s license.

❤ Tell your family about your decision. It’s important that they know your wishes.

❤ Tell your physician and friends.

❤ Include donation in your will, etc.

The first step is vital, and you can do it right now.

–Maryanne