Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Meet My Cousin, Kerry

My cousin Kerry was born with Cystic Fibrosis. Cystic Fibrosis is a disease that many people have heard of, but few could probably define. I know I couldn't before starting this post. CF is a common disease, which affects the whole body, and causes progressive disabilities, and often, early death.

Kerry is 33, she has a husband, a 13 year old son, and a 4 year old son. Kerry spent the past 3 years on a waiting list for a double lung transplant. She has spent the past 4 months living in the hospital, as she was too sick to be able to live outside of it.

She spent just 4 days alive after her doctors found she was no longer strong enough to handle the transplant. On Saturday, Kerry died after a long, brave, scary, and painful battle with her disease.

Kerry's wishes before she died, were that more people would register with Gift of Life to become organ donors when they pass on.

Some facts about organ donation:
  •  1 person can save up to 8 lives if they are able to donate all of their donatable organs.
  • 1 person can enhance the lives of up to 75 others with tissue donation.
  • Checking the box on your license will not make you a certified organ donor- unless papers are filed with Gift of Life, or LifeGift, or another donor program, the end decision is left to your surviving family.
  • Some organ donations can be done while you are alive, such as kidneys, pancreas, and the liver.
  • As of 8/25/10, there are over 100,000 people waiting for an organ donation in the United States.
  • As of May, 2010, there were under 6,000 organ donors in 2010.
  • As of May, 2010, there were over 11,000 organ donations from under 6,000 donors.
  • Organ donation will not mutilate the body before burial. 
  • Because of Kerry's decision, several people received new organs this week after her passing.
Kerry's one wish was for more people to sign up for organ donation, and for more people to consent to the organ donation of their loved ones when they pass.

If you have never  considered organ donation before, consider it now. Discuss your choice with your family. Make sure others are aware of what your wishes are. Find your state's donor registration website, and fill out the paperwork needed to make it official.

You'll be saving lives, like Kerry.

Waiting To Exhale


Heather said...

I am so sorry to hear about your cousin. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.

I am already an organ donor as a request by my sister who cannot donate her organs. More people should definitely consider it.

Rose said...

I am very sorry for your loss. I am an organ donor and my husband and grown children are also. A friend of mine just received a gift of a liver. He is doing well.
People need to be organ donors no matter their age. Even the elderly can donate....my dad was 84 and he was a donor. As he said "I won't need them where I am going."

Jill said...

I'm really sorry to hear about your loss. My heart goes out to you and your family, and especially her children. I'm an organ donor, and I've made sure that my family knows my wishes to do such. In Canada the waiting lists are terrible, and I really wish that more people who could would donate because I too have known people who died waiting for organs.

Anne said...

What a beautiful story...and what a brave young woman your cousin was.

Our daughter was murdered 6 years ago...and we too had to make the decision to donate her organs, eyes, skin, etc. through LifeGift, so that others would have a chance for life. The decision was both the hardest and easiest one to make. It does MY heart good knowing that a bit of my daughter lives on in so many people!

Amanda Faye said...

What A small world. I read your blog often and never knew that your cousin had CF...MY HUSBAND HAS CYSTIC FIBROSIS...Back in October they thought about putting him on the list for a double lung transplant but then found out he was still to healthy... Im SO sorry to hear about your cousin. CF is such A monster of A disease. I have A blog about it you should check it out...confessionsofacfwife

Breathe Easy

EllensCreativePassage said...

Kerry is a special person....I am sorry for your loss and the loss of her children and rest of her family.
CF is a bad disease, with multiple morbidities. Kerry is right though about living life knowing you are loved.

Lulubelle said...

I was lurking around craft blogs today (looking for inspiration) and came across yours. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your cousin.

My mother was on a transplant waiting list for 12 years for a liver. Twice she was called up and told to get to the hospital as a donor had been found! Twice she came home without one because the family of the donor decided they couldn't do it. So, more than just listing yourself as a donor on your driver's license, make sure your loved ones know that it is your desire to be an organ donor.

Fortunately, the third time was a charm. My mother, who was given only 6 months to live when she first got on the transplant list 15 years ago, had a successful transplant three years ago and is healthier and stronger than she has been since she first contracted the disease that necessitated the transplant.

Don't take your organs to Heaven! Heaven knows we need them here. :)