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Giving Thanks

PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:52 am
by vagreys
4 years ago, today, the parents of a 22-yr old motorcycle accident victim agreed to give the gift of life to as many people as possible, in honor of their son's life. 4 years ago, today, I received one of his kidneys, and began Life v2.0. This year, the anniversary of my transplant falls on Thanksgiving Day. Today, I give thanks for a young man who chose to become an organ donor. I give thanks for his parents, who honored their son's wishes and gave the gift of life to so many others in the midst of their own grief. I am, indeed, thankful for my life.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 10:56 am
by DanMcG
Thanks for sharing this Tom, Organ donation helps so many people.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 6:50 pm
by wheels
What a selfless gift - thanks for sharing.


PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2011 7:01 pm
by jenny_haddow
A happy and very poignant Thanksgiving Tom. There is no greater gift than the gift of life.



PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:39 am
by vagreys
Today is the 5th anniversary of my transplant. In reading over my post from last year, I realize that there is another part to this story that deserves telling.

In January 2007, a young woman decided to emigrate from Sweden to the USA, where she settled on Long Island. One month later, she joined the dog forum where I was a moderator. March 2007 was National Organ Donor Month, and I posted a thread about the importance of giving the gift of life. My Swedish friend, Evee, read that post, and then contacted me to ask more questions.

I was active in retired Greyhound rescue and adoption, back then. In May 2007, Evee came down to Richmond to see a Greyhound haul, but what we didn't tell everyone was that she was also coming down to talk with me in depth about donating a kidney.

On 28 June 2007, I drove 6 hours up to New York, and picked her up and brought her down to Richmond for testing. She stayed for five months. Preliminary tests indicated that she was not a match for me. I have type A blood and she has type B. So I would reject her kidney, outright.

The next thing we considered was contacting other A/B pairs to try to arrange a swap. Evee would donate her kidney to a recipient in need of a type B kidney, and I would receive a kidney from that person's type A donor. None of the other pairs was medically-cleared to donate to me.

The last thing we considered is called a variance donation. Evee would donate to a stranger on the Type B list, on my behalf. In exchange for her donation of a live kidney, I would get moved to the top of the type A waiting list, and would get the very next available perfect kidney, instead of having to wait another 4-6 years (if I were to survive that long). What I didn't know at the time was that the doctors were afraid I wouldn't survive the winter, at the pace my body was deteriorating.

Evee decided she was willing to do that, for me. Words cannot express what I feel about this. She would be saving two lives - whoever got her kidney, and me.

Right after I informed my employer of the actual date of that surgery, and prepared them for the likelihood of my being out for 8-12 weeks sometime in the next two months, I was given the option of resigning or being fired. I chose to resign. Frankly, when life is full of transformative events, I had much more important things to think about, anyway.

On 4 September 2007, Evee donated her right kidney to a stranger. Effective at noon, that day, the minute her kidney started functioning in the recipient's boy, I went to the top of the Type A waiting list. I was expected to receive a new kidney within the next 65 days, on average and could get the call at any time.

Evee recovered well in the following weeks. I was at day 81 of my wait at the top of the list, when I got the call that a kidney had become available. I did not know until later that the docs had given me 72-76 days to survive, when I went to the top of the list. It did not even enter my mind that I would run out of time before getting a kidney.

Without Evee's generosity, I would not have been considered for the kidney I ended up receiving. I might not have survived the average wait time of 4-6 years for a kidney in my region of the country. I might still be waiting for a kidney, instead of the 20 months it ended up being. I am, indeed, thankful.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 9:58 am
by Spuddy
What a heartwarming story Tom, thanks for sharing it.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:55 am
by DanMcG
What a selfless act on her part. Thanks for sharing the story Tom.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:41 am
by NCPaul
Evee is an Angel. :D I'm thankful you're still with us.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:44 am
by tomwal
Nice one Tom, very moving.


PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 6:38 pm
by Ruralidle
Tom, what an amazing story. Fate or God or whatever you believe in sent Evee to the US. What a selfish, amazing woman. What a caring lad who rode a motorcycle.

But, in the midst of such an amazing tale of man (& woman)'s humanity to man we have a b..t..d of an employer. I was supported (for about 18 months) by my (public sector) employer following a major stroke, until it became clear that I would not be able to do my job into the future. The actions of your employer would have lost them an Employment Tribunal case in the UK and cost them a fair few thousand GBP (which would have come to you). In cases like this I am pleased I live in the more socially responsible country that is the UK.

Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful story, I was really moved by it!

PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:28 pm
by kimgary
What a heart warming story in these very difficult times, who would have thought that you could read something on a sausage making forum that would tug at the heart strings and put a lump in your throat?.

Many thanks for sharing and to all the unselfish and kind people that give the gift of life.

Sincere regards


PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:15 pm
by Banjoe
Incredible stories! Your heroes continue to live wonderfully full lives through you and everyone you touch. The donor program is very powerful and continues to change lives in incredible ways. Simple to sign up for and can make the most meaningful change in someone's life. Think about it and maybe check that box for the sake of the change you can make.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:37 am
by DiggingDogFarm
Wonderful stories!

Being a cancer survivor, I have good understanding what it's like to experience such a life changing event(s).

I am truly thankful for every moment of every day!


Re: Giving Thanks

PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 12:26 pm
by NCPaul
Happy Thanksgiving!

Re: Giving Thanks

PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 1:39 pm
by Mohalk
Happy Thanksgiving to all.