Yesterday afternoon at Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, there was an event in which I was honored to participate. The name of the event was “A Child’s Gift…A True Living Legacy.” It was co-hosted by Cook Children’s and LifeGift, a federally designated organ and tissue recovery agency.
The purpose of the event was to introduce the families of children who had donated organs or tissues to the families of the recipients. There were 15 families of donors and 19 families of recipients in attendance, for a total of about 250 people, making this the largest event of this sort in the State. Some families brought as many as 15 members.
My invitation to this event came as a result of my membership in Lions Club, and also my association with the Lions Organ and Eye Bank of our district. There were six of us in attendance. Our responsibility was to host and guide one of the families through the steps of the afternoon’s event.
After the initial registration of the families, there was a general session in the auditorium where two recipients and two family members of donors told their individual stories. These were powerful presentations, complete with struggles and tears. Keep in mind that all of the donors represented by these families were children.
After this, the families were taken to a large meeting room where the two families could meet and talk. For most of these people, it was the first time they had met the donor and/or recipient. There was a lot of hugging and crying. This large room became very crowded, but no one seemed to notice or care. There were mixed ethnicities involved, but again, no one cared. It was all about the loss of life and the resulting gift of life.
I have been exposed to emotional and heart rending situations before, but this one ranks right up there at the top. If you are not a registered donor, please think about the possibility. If you are a donor, make sure everyone in your circle knows your wishes. To pass up the opportunity to give a part of yourself to another struggling human being at the time of your death is a great loss.