Organ Donation: A Tragic Ending Results in a Happy Ending

I stumbled across another one of those tragic stories in a Utah newspaper. (Have I ever mentioned that even though I’ve lived in Indiana for over six years, I still only read the Utah newspapers?) Anyway, it was a story involving two families, a transplant, and a tragic accident. It was one of those stories that tugged at the heart strings again.

Before I got married, I didn’t believe in being an organ donor.  In my mind being organ donor was bad luck and just asking for something to go wrong.  I was sure if I opted to be an organ donor on my driver’s license that I would die within a few years. Turns out that my choice to have my social security number printed on my driver’s license was far more dangerous than if I’d made the choice to be an organ donor.

Anyway, I got married and a whole new way of understanding the world was opened up to me. When I went to get my license renewed, Casey tagged along and she was shocked that I was not already an organ donor. When the Utah DMV lady asked me if I wanted to be an organ donor, Casey quickly and quite assertively told her that I would be opting in as an organ donor. By that time in our marriage, I had already learned to say, “Yes lady!” without any hesitation.

From then on, I’ve been an organ donor and thankfully I haven’t had to donate any organs. But I’m sure my wife will let everyone know if or when that day comes.

This story out of Utah just confirms the importance of being an organ donor.  One girl tragically died way too early in life and another girl was saved as a result.

A few years ago in my hometown of Vernal, Utah, a 12-year-old girl headed to her school bus stop when she ran in front of a car and tragically lost her life. What may be even sadder is that the girl’s mother saw the whole thing happen. She saw her daughter get hit by the car. She saw her daughter fall to the street. And worst of all, she didn’t see her daughter get back up again.

At that time, somewhere else, another girl who was only 4-years-old was in desperate need of a liver transplant.  The girl had been born with a genetic disorder known as Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. The disorder wouldn’t allow her liver to function properly and she had been in need of a liver since she was only 1-year-old.

The death of one girl saved the life of another girl. The 12-year-old, named Ashley, donated her liver to the 4-year-old, nicknamed LuLu. The mothers of the two children have stayed in touch since the organ transplant occurred.

Ashley’s mother had to move away from Vernal because of the memories that existed there. However, she said that one of the things that helped her move past the mental image of her daughter lying on the street was the mother of LuLu explaining how Ashley had saved LuLu. It gave Ashley’s mom something positive to think about and to picture every time that image of her daughter getting hit by the car entered her mind.

Being an organ donor gave life to one child and brought a bit of joy and happiness to Ashley’s mom when the tragedy could have very easily left her mother with nothing but negative feelings at the death of her daughter.  If those reasons aren’t enough for everyone to be an organ donor, I don’t know what would be.

Photo Credit: Flickr

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