On today’s 100th post, we are proud to report that 2, 363, 652 Illinois residents have joined the state’s new organ/tissue donor registry as of July 17 (source: Secretary of State Jesse White’s Organ/Tissue Donor Program, whose office manages the registry). Stop for a moment and give yourself a pat on the back. Every one of these registrants needs to be applauded for taking a moment to re-register or joining the registry for the first time and committing to helping save the lives of others.
Let’s keep spreading the word to hit our goal of registering 3.5 million residents by April 2008! We’ve come a long way, but with 6 million Illinoisans previously signed up in the old registry, there are still plenty of folks that need to be informed of the need to re-register to ensure their wishes as lifesaving donors in Illinois.
Why does it all matter? It all matters because of people like Megan and the donor that provided her with a new set of lungs. I first came across Megan on MySpace last Fall, but hadn’t heard from her in awhile. I was ecstatic to come across Revive Hope’s post below last week informing us all about Megan’s successful lung transplant. Drop by and give Megan a congrats!
Post by Steve Ferkau (Revive Hope, thanks Steve!):
This is Megan. I met Megan about 7 years ago. She’s struggled all of her life with crippling asthma. Her asthma was bad enough the past few years that she hooked herself up to a ventilator every night before she went to sleep. Her asthma was bad enough that she needed a lung transplant to stay on this planet a while longer.
This is Megan’s nephew Mason – Megan says that he’s been hanging around his aunt a little too much because he knows how to use her equipment a little too well. Megan told me once that Mason was one of the people in her life that kept her going – Mason’s Mom, Susie, pretty much confirmed that the other night… I know that when Megan started having more problems and became more homebound, not having as much time with Mason devastated her… I hope that someday Mason understands what he did for his auntie Megan…
Megan has gone through so many ups and downs, and so many emotional and physical battles. Weaning her off high-dose prednisone had probably caused her to need the ventilator every night for the past few years. She had to wean herself off of the painkillers that helped her sleep, to prepare for transplant. She’s been through so much in her short life, yet she’s had so little – she wants to fall in love, and she wants a career, and she wants to be independent.
Megan talked about losing her independence… About not wanting to be a burden, yet needing to depend on others for so many things. I knew venting was something she needed to do… Her friends, myself included, see her as an amazingly strong and upbeat person – yet she sometimes felt depressed and discouraged, and more so lately. I think she made the mistake of believing that this was somehow a weakness – but it wasn’t. She didn’t want people to know she was struggling.
Over the past several months while she waited, Megan and I exchanged messages over MySpace and via email. We talked about life, and she vented from time to time. I think she knew she could talk to me because I had an idea as to where she’s been in life… I understood and sympathized with the problems she was facing. And I know the frustration of waiting… I know the fear and frustration of seeing people around you, maybe not even as sick as you, being called and getting their lungs while you wonder if it will ever be your turn – and then the feeling of guilt for wishing someone else’ good fortune was yours and not theirs.
Yesterday, my friend Megan received two beautiful, new lungs. We know there is a family of a loved one who is struggling right now – they and the person they’ve lost are in our thoughts and prayers… I hope someday they know what they’ve done for another family, and a precious girl who has never known what it’s like to breathe normally…
I spent a little time with her Mom & Dad & Aunt and her sister Susie in the surgical waiting room – I walked in after they had her right lung transplanted and were working on her left. I got to give them a hug and help them understand what this breathing stuff is all about! I gave them a “Kari’s Klimbers” team t-shirt to give Megan when she is ready – I wrote a little note to Megan around the hem. She’s climbing with me one of these times soon!
I know Megan still has a tough road ahead of her – but at least she’s made it to the road! She’s an amazing young lady – and she’s finally been given the chance to enjoy life a little more. I just can’t wait to hear about her chasing Mason around town! Now she can finally give him a run for his money! And hopefully she can fall in love, and find a career, and become independent.
One of the beautiful heart & lung procurement nurses over at Loyola refers to all of her patients waiting as her “ducklings…” Like all of the people in lung transplant clinics, and the folks at Gift of Hope, and so many involved in organ donation and transplant everywhere – she makes it obvious how much she wants us to survive.
Yesterday, a precious momma duck got one of her ducklings safely across the street…