Like many people, Laurie Hamdani gets impatient waiting in line. She relates strongly to the thousands of people awaiting live-giving organ, cornea and tissue transplants. It’s not because she is one of them, but because there’s a logical decision everyone can make to help end the waiting.
She and her husband, Quasim, made that decision: to register as organ and tissue donors when renewing their drivers’ licenses. “It just seemed like a logical choice,” she says.
She describes her husband as a bright, optimistic, intelligent man in his prime — “my best friend, an amazing father to our two daughters, the center of his extended family and revered by his peers and coworkers.” With a family history of cardiac health problems, Quasim spent years improving his health through diet, exercise and stress management.
But in November 2012 he suffered a heart attack. “He was gravely ill for the first several days, but then rallied,” Laurie recalls. A little over a week later, his family was planning his return home when he developed sudden, terminal complications.
Quasim’s death left his family in shock. They struggled to understand how he could fall victim to the cardiac illness he worked so hard to avoid.
When Quasim was declared dead, hospital staff informed her that he was medically eligible to be a cornea and tissue donor. His foresight to register as a donor became a legacy of sight and better life for others.
“Quasim was really a man of vision,” Laurie says. “He encouraged me, our children and almost anyone he spent time with to set their sights high. Truly, he was that pebble tossed in a pond whose ripples expanded outward.”
In early 2013, Laurie learned about the man who received her husband’s corneas. “It seems most fitting and comforting to me to know that his eyes literally help another man see. Our family suffered a tremendous loss. But I find peace in knowing that out of our tragedy, another family had something truly amazing happen.”
Recently, Laurie’s father underwent spinal surgery, requiring donated bone. “Tissue donation, such as that which my father received, is a gift because it improves the recipient’s quality of life,” she says. “You can make a decision today to give the gift of hope to another person, and you won’t have to wait in a long line to do it. Please consider registering as a donor today.”