Tag Archives: gift of life

DECEMBER 26–Boston Globe Tribute to Caitlin

Deep thanks to Bryan Marquard and The Boston Globe for writing this beautiful tribute to Caitlin, and publishing it on the front page today: Caitlin O’Hara, who brought compassion to others while she sought a transplant, dies at 33

Caitlin’s death was ultimately caused by her too-long wait. The surgery itself was technically easier than the surgeons had anticipated. That part had gone very well. Her problems were all caused by having been on life support for too long. If she had received those perfect lungs earlier, there would only have been a happy story to tell.

One of the most important lessons that can come out of this tragedy is how vital is the need for organ donor awareness. In lieu of any flowers or gifts to us, please register today to be an organ, tissue, and cornea donor. (The DMV “organ donor” sticker is not enough.) And please help to dispel the wrongheaded myths about donation. Organ allocation is one of the most tightly-regulated and ethical institutions in the country. Register as an organ donor

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Lake Erie, with Andrew, 2015

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.

PS: If you want to follow this blog, just click +Follow, down to the right, and enter your email address to be alerted to updates.

–Maryanne

May 27 – The Start of Summer, & Waiting

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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