Saturday, September 3, 2011

A First Year As An Organ Donor

My driver's license came up for renewal this year and for the first time I checked the little box that says 'yes' for organ donation. Prior to this, I've had mixed feelings about my being an actual donor.  I've heard how much it helps other people and all, but I just felt a tad squeamish over the fact that after my immediate demise people are hovering over me (like vultures, it seemed to me) and harvesting my remaining healthy organs.  Please, I just need a moment to be....dead?  
    But as story after story comes to me about the people who are affected and given another chance at life, my heart has changed.  
   One story recently shows what an impact just a little check in a box can make.  Last summer, July 2010, a wonderful, healthy, good-looking boy was just living his life.  Brandon Curtis had lettered in 3 sports that year at his Springville High School.  After football practice, he was goofing around with some members of his team of which he was captain.  They were driving in the parking lot, doing donuts in a jeep.  Not exactly the smartest thing, but something not unlike what any teenage kid is prone to do with his buddies.  Believe me, as a teenager, I've done some pretty stupid things myself.  The difference is that somehow, I'm still here, while Brandon lost his life that day when their jeep rolled and he was pinned underneath.
    This was not an ordinary kid by any means.  This was a boy who thought about everyone.  "Brandon was the kind of person that if you couldn't finish running your quarter mile and he was done, he would come back and run with you and help you."  -Conrad Beach, 15, teammate
"Brandon loved to bake and cook.  I'm a lunch lady and Brandon would bake and make cookies for me.  He was a friend to everybody."  -Cheryl Beutler, family friend 
"brandon was a good friend to me he was there when no body else wanted to talk to me he made me feel like i was part of the group and i always went to the games to support him he is going to be missed by all who knew him"  -elisia, friend
It was because of who Brandon was, that his father wasn't surprised that he had chosen to be an organ donor.  And with that decision he was able to help 6 people continue on in their own lives.  
   Because of privacy laws, Brandon's parents weren't given the names of those who Brandon had helped, but one day it happened anyway.  Marlee Dalton walked into the Reams grocery store where Brandon's mother, Dianne Curtis works.  She was looking for information about Brandon Curtis so she could visit his grave.  Instead she ran into his mother and told her this story.  As she was in the hospital waiting for her kidney and pancreas that was to be donated by Brandon Curtis, she closed her eyes and saw a young man facing her.  It startled her.  It was only later after reading about Brandon and seeing his picture that she realized it had been him. (That brings chills to me)  She was able to meet his mother by coincidence (?) and thank her and tell her about this experience.  In addition to Marlee, a 10-year old boy received a kidney, a 27-year old father received a liver, a 66-year-old man got a new heart, a 44-year-old man received two lungs, and one other woman was also a beneficiary of Brandon's generosity in death.  
    There are many more examples of how one choice can mean so much to so many.  And while I don't want to be in a position to make this gesture anytime soon, it's nice to know that I might be able to count for a little bit more good on this earth before I'm finally laid to rest someday! In the meantime, thank you Brandon and all like you, for seeing the needs of others and acting on their behalf, even after you're gone.
Brandon Curtis


Glenda said...

Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story about a wonderful youg man. I too have been there I lost my 16 year old daughter to a car accident and so I had to face this choice and yes I did the same and she helped 70 people. So Thanks for choosing to do the same.

Eschelle Westwood Mumfection said...

thank you for sharing this, I too am an organ donor, so is my husband and my two boys. It is amazing how one persons passing can save so many lives in so many different ways.

A GAL NEEDS... said...

Glenda - I can't even imagine having to lose my daughter to a car accident. It's hard enough to lose one shortly after birth like I did. Thank you so much for sharing.

Eschelle - Thanks so much for choosing to share! It took me awhile but I got there too.

Debbi said...

What an awesome post! Thank you so much for sharing such a moving story. My big brother--a fire fighter, Paramedic and 911 Dispatcher--was the recipient of two liver transplants. We are so thankful for the donors that allowed him to live many more years and impact (and even save) other lives through his work. I pray that many will read this post and decide to do what you have done. Thank you!

dd said...

Always love reading organ donation stories and encourage it as a nurse.