The life of an ordinary woman, who'd been given an extraordinary gift. The Gift of Sight. This is my story and my life.

Posts tagged ‘information’

FaceBook & Donate Life… What A Team!

So, if you are living under a rock, then you don’t know. But if you are among the above-ground walkers, then you most certainly have heard it through Good Morning America, read it on an internet news site or within your newspaper.

Donate Life and FaceBook are teaming up to bring awareness to the need for people to sign up for Organ Donation.

Mark Zuckerberg has set up your timeline to add in your “Life Events” about becoming an Organ Donor, and to explain why you made the decision to do so. In mine, I already had taken the step of placing in it that I am a Corneal Transplant Recipient, posted the date I had received my Gift of Sight, and why I was in need of a new cornea. So, Mark… um, where’s my royalties for giving you this idea (*smug grin*)?

To learn more about this new addition to the timeline, and more as to why the Co-Founder of the largest Social Networking site in the world on the web had added this, CLICK HERE to read the GMA article.

FINALLY!! Something positive, good, and actually “worthy” of being on a Social Networking site, such as FaceBook has arrived. And with this, I am hoping even more so that “20 Million in 2012” won’t only be a slogan and a dream, but become a reality and even push past that goal’s number. Especially with about 113,000 Americans in dire need of organs and tissues. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands more worldwide.

If more people were to take the time to learn of the REAL facts regarding Donation, to listen to those of us that have received an organ, tissue or even skin or other transplant-able parts, and how our lives and quality of our lives are changed, saved and improved, then imagine the possibility of not needing such long waiting lists, so many people DYING as they await their miracles, or losing limbs or eyes due to awaiting for a match to come along.

If you are not signed up as an Organ Donor, please do so. It costs you nothing. It costs your family nothing. But it gives us recipients all the riches in the world with nothing (other than our children and grandchildren) in comparison. And your gift is truly a “gift that keeps on giving” long after you are gone, and you will live on in others. Get educated on the facts, sign up at Donate Life (link above), and then tell your family, your friends, and even your place of worship that you signed up to be a Hero of Hope.

North Carolina Eye Bank

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision” ~ Helen Keller

I cannot say enough about this Eye Bank, or those that work within their building’s walls. Through them, and through their expertise, because of my Donor’s wonderful gift, I have been able to keep my eye, and I can see once again out of that eye with almost-perfect vision.

Please take a few minutes out of your day, and watch this video regarding NC (North Carolina) Eye Bank*, and get a feel for their passion, compassion and their mission. And see a fellow “Corneal Transplant Brother” express his thanks to his Donor’s mother after she tells her heart-wrenching story of donating her daughter’s eyes and what it means to her.

 

If you wish to know more about the process of Eye Donation, or more about the facility, just feel free to use the contact information at the end of the video.

Here is one also for NCEB. Pretty much the same, but more expansive. And more to the story of the mother, her Donor daughter, and her Recipient.

 

“There is no better way to thank God for your sight than by giving a helping hand to someone in the dark.” ~ Helen Keller

 

*NC (North Carolina) Eye Bank is not paying or otherwise reimbursing the author of this blog post for promotion of ANY kind. This post is of the author’s own thoughts, feelings and views regarding NCEB and it’s mission. The views expressed in this blog post is not necessarily the views expressed or felt of the NCEB its self.

We Ran To Save Lives!

The morning could not have been more perfect this past Saturday. A tad chilly, but not so much so, that it was horrible to have to stand it. Believe me, it wasn’t long before I removed my light jacket and tied it around my waist from overheating.

The last two days, I have been pretty sore. But that’s because I didn’t have time to train and build myself up for the race and that long three mile course.

In the end, every ache and pain, every muscle strain, and every Advil popped (or muscle relaxant rubbed in) was well worth it.

Because my oldest daughter, who’s twelve, and I helped promote a wonderful thing. Organ/Tissue/Eye Donation. And all of the proceeds pulled in from registration, and from private donations went to Donate Life (Virginia chapter), to LifeNet, and to other programs that educate and bring awareness to the need for Organ Donors. And also some is set aside to help aid financially, the patients that have little to no health insurance to help pay some of their transplant surgery bill.

When all was said and done, my daughter came in at 276 out of 330 runners. She clocked in at just under forty minutes. As for the old lady (me!) I came in at 321 of 330 runners, with a clocked time of just under fifty-one minutes. I haven’t done something like this in over twenty years, so getting in within under an hour, for me was a HUGE feat. Especially when you consider, I have a lung that barely works, thanks to birth defects, and the left lung carries most of the work of two.

Now, it is looking like NEXT April, it’s not just going to be myself and my daughter. But also my husband and our son. My youngest will have to be watched by someone and then me or Dad will take her for a Youth Mini-Mile run that they place for the kids ages one through like 12.

As I got to the turnaround/halfway point, I admit it, I cried. But not because I was hurting. It was because I was half way through accomplishing my goals. Of honoring my mom, my Donor and their family. And I was secretly wishing my Mom was still here to see it all.

Then I cried as I was nearing the finish line. Because I caught a glimpse of the time clock and noticed I came in UNDER my personally-appointed time limit. And because I pushed against EVERY limitation I was given (to my parents) as a baby and a young kid. I pushed through feeling like my lung was about to drop to my stomach on that last part of the home stretch. I accomplished what I said I would. And that was to see the whole course through. And I did just that.

Here’s pictures from the race that a photographer had taken throughout the entire run. Thanks to him, I was able to see really how my daughter had done.

Am I crazy, stupid, or dare I say it… BOTH?!

As my readers know well by now, I am a recipient of a cornea. And I have been an organ donor since the age of 18. And I am a strong supporter and activist for organ, eye and tissue donation.

And I am about to put myself through something I have not done in over two decades. A run/walk course. A three mile one at that. And this course is all-cement terrain, with two decently steep hills to climb.

Back in the day, I used to run/walk the Examiner Bay To Breaker race. Each year, my time got less and less. But also did my knee’s ability to hit the ground… running. And over the years, the one lung that I have had lifelong problems with, as well as scar tissue under the scar where my trache once used to be, has slowly gotten a bit more medically worse.

Add in the eye, and it’s been one hell of a ride on this thing called “Life”. But you know what? I have loved (mostly) every freaking minute of it! And I have thus far beaten every conceivable odd that was thrust at me. I have done EVERYTHING that doctors have said I’d never do. Even with adding in the fact that I (am at last checkup) at a range of 20/20 vision in an eye that’s been through infection, puncturing, loss of fluid, and now a cataract under my transplant. Miraculous, to say the least. Then again, I’m guessing that I have a right to be a bit biased.

Now, I am going to TRY and defy my own personal limitation. I am taking back to the race course. And for a good cause. And I plan on walking as well as TRY and run (portions of) the course set before us.

On Saturday, April 7th, 2012, my oldest daughter and I are participating in the Point of Honor 5K in Lynchburg, Virginia. The proceeds generated (via registration fees and donations) will go to the Virginia chapter of Donate Life America and to the Virginia chapter of LifeNet. And also other organizations throughout my state to help educate, sign up and bring awareness to organ, eye and tissue donation.

My parents, especially my mom, did everything they could to ensure I lived through what was at the time in 1976, the unsurvivable. No matter what it took. And that carried on after her death.

Now, I am doing everything I can to get my special needs son what he needs, no matter what it takes.

And I am fighting for THOUSANDS of strangers on waiting lists, knowing that MILLIONS more will be on those lists in my lifetime.

I’m fighting to bring awareness to Organ Donation, the need for Heroes to give Hope to people that are in need of the Gift of Life/Sight.

For that, I am willing to put my body through two steep hill climbs and another two and a half miles of walking/running.

If it makes even just ONE person observing the race who has yet to do so, sign up to be a Donor, then it was worth ever sore muscle, achy feet and being out of breath and all the sweat that will be pouring down my face on Saturday morning.

But I must make a confession. It’s hard doing this again. But not physically. Emotionally.

I lost my mom on October 29th, 1989. Exactly twenty years later on October 29th, 2009, I received the Gift of Sight from my beautiful Donor. And to me, it was no coincidence of that happening in the way that it had. I believe my Mom was with me through all of it. Heck, maybe they both watched over me that day as the damaged eye was being repaired. Because they (as was I) were almost 100% certain that the tissue wasn’t going to take, and that when I was wheeled out of surgery, it was without one of my eyes.

So, Saturday, I’m going to walk (and run) for my Donor. I’ll walk for my precious Donor Family. I’ll be walking for Mom. And I’m walking for those waiting patiently for their second chance to see, walk and live.

Wish me luck. Crazy, stupid, or even both, I’m so very glad to be participating in such a wonderful cause, and having fun as I help bring Hope and awareness.

April is… (20 Million in 2012)

It’s that time of year again. That time to get people to register. To learn the REAL facts of donation.

To be one of the twenty million in 2012!

I am. Are you?

I have been a Registered Organ Donor since I turned 18. And in checking that box, I never once had a second thought in doing so.

Today, not only am I a Donor (when the time comes), but I am also a Recipient. Which in and of its self makes my signing up all those years ago even more meaningful. To me, to my family, and to whomever I will help in the future.

Not that I am hoping to die tomorrow, mind you. But I know that when it’s my time, that I in some way or ways, will live on in those that I was able to help save, or at the very least, improve their quality of life.

If it weren’t for my Hero Donor, more than likely, I wouldn’t have an eyeball in my left eye socket today. They not only saved my cornea (the window to the eye that protects the eye from outside harm and maintains a balance of eye fluid), but my entire eye. It was ravaged by a severe infection due to Ocular Rosacea, and it had a perforation (hole), and was leaking eye fluid. I lost 75% of my cornea and about 90% of my eye fluid. To say I was on “borrowed time” is quite possibly an understatement. And I knew (by admission of the Surgeon) that very likely, my eye was going to be removed. Especially if the cornea was showing signs of sudden rejection then and there while I was on the table.

My Cornea was flown in to where I had my surgery, which was performed by Dr. Alan Carlson over at Duke University Medical Center. My Donor had passed away hours before, and was thankfully a Donor, and a match for my needs. And every single day that I look in the mirror, watch my kids play and excel, see the birds and the squirrels in my backyard and do even the most mundane, everyday tasks, I am grateful and thankful. To a stranger that I will never get the pleasure and honor of meeting. And I’m grateful to their family, as well. I can only hope that one day, I can meet those that knew my Donor best and get to learn a bit about the person that gave me my life and it’s quality back. And to thank them for helping to give my children back their mother. Because NO CHILD should have to endure what my three children have had to witness and feel so helpless as to seeing the suffering of a parent in that way.

If you are NOT a Registered Donor of your organs, eyes or tissues, PLEASE, become one today! And yes, you can be specific if you choose to do so, of what you will allow to be donated. It’s a simple process. You can go to your local DMV (Dept. of Motor Vehicles), to Donate Life America, or to LifeNet.  Within those websites, you can learn the TRUE facts about Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation. Once you have read up on the process and have decided that you wish to be one of the TWENTY MILLION IN 2012, then please take a moment and join us. It’s easy, quick and it will help save lives!

Our souls go to Heaven. Not our organs. So please, share them with those that can’t live without them.

Tech Bytes For The Blind/Visually Impared

WOW! Technology has come a very, very long way, indeed!

Read the article (link below). And also watch the video of the man driving the vehicle. (within said article).

BLIND MAN DRIVES TO TACO BELL!

What do you think about this impending possibility?

I say it is a WONDERFUL tool to give to the visually impaired. More independence. More freedom. More “normalcy” like their sighted counterparts.

Rules Need To Change When It Comes To Getting A Transplant

I don’t care what type of transplant you need. Be it a heart, lungs, liver or even a cornea or tendon. Or any other type of transplant that requires “parts” from another person, living or deceased. We as Recipients have an obligation. To our Donor, their family, and to our fellow man.

To pay it forward.

But, because some people have passed along misguided information, and have made ill assumptions regarding the process of Procurement (“harvesting”, which is no longer a term used within the Transplant Community, of a person’s organs, tissues and eyes), and have instilled fear in those that have not one shred of understanding or experience with the processes of Transplantation, articles, like the one that I will provide a link for down below make getting Donor Registration to increase almost impossible.

It’s best to get it from the horse’s mouth, than from some jerk that has not one ideal notion of what Organ/Tissue/Eye Donation is truly all about, and what all is involved. From procurement to actual transplantation.

A friend of mine that I sometimes converse with, Olan B. (last name omitted to protect his privacy) had posted a link to an article from all places, Wall Street Journal. And what I had read within the piece made me angry, hurt and even a tad bit ill. Why? Because the article was wrought with lies, misconceptions and half-truths regarding Donation and what happens (according to it’s author, DICK TERESI).

Here is the link to the article in question… Please read it for yourself, and then feel free to chime in within my blog post’s COMMENTS section. What You Lose When You Sign That Donor Card

Are you angry? Upset? Do you have your blood pressure shooting up? Mine did too, and I was pretty livid myself.

And it’s because of people like Mr. Teresi, that those awaiting a solid organ, tissue or for a cornea, that people are dying, losing their entire eye or their sight (permanently), lose the ability to walk, or not have a good skin graft to help recover from burns, see such a harsh number of Donor Registry/Registration shortages. Because of the fear and the misconceptions about being a Donor.

Thanks to this man, within the comments, I have noted that there are some who have been registered to be a Donor for several years, only to retract and have their Donor heart removed from their state’s ID or Driver’s License because someone “finally had given them the ‘real’ facts of what happens to us if we donate”. Which in turn, brings the Registered Donor rate down. Then that in turn KILLS more people DAILY that are awaiting a new solid organ, or makes someone lose their SIGHT for good.

If that’s how people feel, then I say that the rules to become a RECIPIENT must change. Here’s MY idea…

I for one do NOT believe in forced registration across the board in regards to “Opt-Out” systems. In other words, you are automatically a registered Donor, who must go in to the DMV or online and check the box to OPT-OUT of being a Donor.

But, I feel that if you can TAKE from another person, no matter what it is that is donated to you, then you sure as hell can GIVE BACK! In other words, if you are NOT a donor, then if the time comes for the need of an organ or tissue, then you MUST sign up to become a Donor yourself, as part of your becoming a Recipient.

If you are ALREADY registered to be a Donor when your time comes to need a solid organ or a tissue, then you have NOTHING to worry about. But you will HAVE TO REMAIN A DONOR.

To get the REAL facts regarding Organ/Tissue/Eye Transplantation, please visit Donate Life America, or visit LifeNet. They have the real information. As does the Eye Bank Association of America.

Because of misconceptions and mis-education, stories like the following would NOT be possible…