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Organ donors help keep families togetherPosted Wednesday, April 28, 2010, at 8:44 AM
When I got my driver's license after turning 16, I answered "yes" to becoming an organ donor. I had no idea then how passionate I would become about organ donation.
Nearly six years ago, my mother-in-law, Phyllis Franklin, received a life-saving liver transplant at Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis. On Mother's Day of 2004, my mother-in-law was blessed with a new lease on life, what an amazing Mother's Day present.
This Mother's Day, we will recognize the six-year anniversary of her transplant, and we will thank our Lord and Savior for Phyllis, as she is such a blessing to our entire family.
From the moment we found out she needed a transplant (even before I was married into her family) I felt the need to encourage others to become organ donors.
The decision an anonymous donor made has changed the lives of everyone in our family -- especially my children. Thanks to that donor, my children have their grandma (and of course, Papaw [Dale] Franklin). Without that donor, my kids would not have had Grandma and Grandpa to take them to the park, read stories to them, or bake cookies with them. But, thanks to that donor, my kids have the opportunity to play at the park with Grandma and Grandpa, read stories with Grandma, and make a mess in the kitchen baking cookies with Grandma.
Prior to the procedure, Phyllis said she wanted to see Brooklyn, my oldest child, start kindergarten and learn to read (Phyllis is a children's librarian, so reading has always been important to her.) Now, Brooklyn is finishing first grade and reading very well. When she was little, Phyllis would always read to her. Now, they take turns reading to each other. Every time I see the two of them sharing the recliner reading books to each other, I am reminded of how blessed we are.
At the time of her surgery, my oldest child was 15-months-old and I was carrying my second child. Without her transplant, I'm certain Phyllis wouldn't have lived long enough to see the birth of my twins (born in December 2008).
According to Joni Rosebrock, community relations manager with the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization Inc (www.iopo.org), 490 organs were provided for transplant in Indiana last year. There are 1,294 Indiana residents waiting for a life-saving transplant, while there are more than 106,000 on the waiting list throughout the United States.
There are not words to express how grateful I am for the decision an anonymous donor gave to give life to someone else.
I always joke with Phyllis and call her "my evil mother-in-law," but she is far from that. In reality, I am truly blessed to have such fabulous in-laws. Dale and Phyllis are such wonderful, loving people. I will never be able to thank them enough for the many ways they have shaped my life and the lives of my husband and children. I can honestly say that I am a better person because of them. I love both of them more than I will ever be able to express with words.
I urge everyone to consider becoming an organ donor. Talk to your family about your decision. Someone's decision to become an organ donor not only changed the life of my mother-in-law, but also changed the lives of our entire family.
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