Father’s Day is Sunday and is a time to not only celebrate the dads in our lives but also a time to remember the men we have lost. Here at The Living Legacy Foundation we are grateful for the opportunity to listen to the stories both recipients and donors share with us. The two stories below are from organ recipient fathers who celebrate the gift of life and are forever grateful for the extra time they have been given to share with their families.
6 year heart recipient
Six years ago, during recovery from my heart transplant at The University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, MD my oldest grandson, then age 12, brought me a hat. The insignia on this hat says “Life Is Good.” To this day, I wear this hat all the time because it expresses how I feel. Receiving the gift of life is a blessing words cannot adequately express. While I was in the hospital undergoing a battery of physical and psychological tests in preparation of becoming a heart transplant candidate, my wife was informed from my doctors I had about two months of life expectancy. Within three days of being placed on the heart transplant list, a healthy heart became available. Since my transplant, my life has been a phenomenal journey. We enjoy our relationship with our two sons and our six grandchildren, ages 8 to 18. Spending time with our families on holidays, birthdays, graduations and other happy events is what life is all about. Every day is a blessing and being given a second chance at life allows one to place the small challenges we all experience in their correct perspective.
A little more than two years ago, my wife and I had the opportunity to meet my donor’s mother and her family. Although we come from different backgrounds and experiences we share a very common bond, we consider each other to be extended family. My donor’s mother donated seven healthy organs from her son to six different recipients. To this date, all recipients are healthy and well. My wife and I have dinner with my donor’s family about every two to three months. Our continued gratitude to my donor’s mom cannot be expressed in words other than “we love you.”
I also wish to express my gratitude to the heart transplant unit at The University of Maryland Medical Center. The team has been absolutely wonderful from the first day we met Dr. Erika Feller to the ongoing and continuous monitoring and semiannual checkups at the hospital. My wife and I are both organ donors as indicated on our driver’s license and we encourage everyone who is not, to consider the potential benefit you might provide to another person.
As I close my eyes and visualize how my new life began on October 23, 2012, my heart fills with joy. On the morning of October 23rd at approximately 7:00am I received the gift of life from a selfless donor. My initial shock from the phone call wore off once I was in preparation for surgery. After receiving dialysis treatments four years, three times a week, I wished for a chance to spend more time with my family instead of being hooked up to machines four hours a day. Receiving a kidney transplant allows me more time with my family and a chance to focus on new endeavors, I am truly forever grateful.
There are just two of the many heartfelt stories LLF is grateful to receive every day. For additional stories from recipients and donor families, please visit our website www.thellf.org
Want to share your story? We’d love to hear it. Email firstname.lastname@example.org