Last Saturday, more than 30 people gathered at the Christian Youth Center in Joliet for the Kevin Reedy Classic VI, a table-tennis tournament – and so much more.
Virginia (Gina) Reedy-Lindsey is the event’s hostess. She knows more about organ/tissue, blood and bone marrow donation than she ever imagined she would. Her middle child, Kevin Reedy was a registered organ/tissue donor and an active blood donor. In 2001, he died in his college dorm due to an unknown genetic heart disease.
In 2003, Gina’s youngest son, Tim, become ill due to the same genetic heart disease. While Tim was waiting for his new heart, Gina’s oldest son, Nate was serving his country in Iraq and returned home injured. Nate received a purple heart for his service. He gave the award to his brother, Tim, as Nate felt that Tim’s bravery far surpassed his own.
Meanwhile, Gina’s second husband, Carl, was battling acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Carl required endless units of blood and platelets. He also had two bone marrow transplants. Although Carl lost his battle with AML, he and Gina enjoyed several months as husband and wife because people were kind enough to donate blood and bone marrow.
To honor her loved ones, Gina and her brother, Roger, hold a table-tennis tournament. This free, public event has one main purpose – to encourage tournament participants to register to become organ/tissue, blood and bone marrow donors.
The game was fierce. Several participants had practiced year round for this very moment. There was Chester, who had a sneaky spin serve. Then there was returning champion and heart recipient, Tim. There was Mike, another returning champion, who made it to the final round of this year’s tourney. Trophies were awarded to the top three players!
While all the participants enjoyed playing rounds of table-tennis, the memories of Kevin and Carl and the struggles of Tim and Nate reminded everybody just how important it really is to be a registered organ/tissue donor, a registered bone marrow donor and to donate blood at every possible opportunity. You never know how your generosity will shape the lives of others.