February 14: A Day to Share Yourself
Nausea, lack of energy, and yellow and itchy skin were taking their toll on Alex.
After a semester or so of this, Alex woke in the middle of the night so sick he asked his roommate to take him to the hospital. After some tests, he was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver. He didn’t even drink alcohol. The Fairbanks hospital was not equipped for the kind of care Alex needed, and the doctors promised him they would do everything in their power to get him on the transplant list. In the meantime, they would make him as comfortable as possible.
It was a typical afternoon, August 10, 1999. Alex heard his hospital-issued beeper go off. He looked at the number and immediately picked up his work phone to dial.
“Hello?” someone answered.
“Hi, uh, this is Alex. My beeper just went off.”
“Yes, we have a liver for you.”
“Oh,” Alex hesitated, “Um. I’m at work.”
“Do you need a liver or not, Sir.”
“Well, yeah.” He was shocked. He didn’t even know he was placed on the transplant list yet.
“Then get on an airplane right now and it’s yours.”
National Donor Day, February 14, is dedicated to spreading awareness about organ, eye, and tissue donation. In the Donate Life California website below, individuals can quickly register to become donors. For all those hardcore donation fanatics out there, there is the option to be a live donor; for those who like the vampire experience, there is the typical giving of blood; but there is also the option to gift after one’s death. Becoming a donor is fast and easy, and when you are finished, you have the knowledge that even after your death, you can bless others with a longer, healthier, and happier life.
Talking of death, life after death, how we want our bodies prepared for a funeral, the current price for burial plots, or who gets what when we die are not popular topics of discussion among college students or anyone. I don’t know about others, but my death isn’t scheduled till I’m 120. In the event my power button gets turned off early due to my husband’s or children’s driving, I would like my good body parts harvested like Hachiya persimmons about to spoil. I don’t want a good thing go to waste—donate.
After Alex left work that day and traveled from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Seattle, Washington to receive his liver transplant, he went on to graduate from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a degree in theater and married a woman who happens to own a theater. Ah, theater love. The birth defect which caused his liver disease is no longer a problem, and his doctors predict a long life. He has been carrying a donor’s liver for over 23 years, and if it weren’t for that one person registering to donate his organs, my brother might not be alive today.
Thank you to all those who are registered, and thank you for all those who are considering it.