The other night with family sitting around the table the topic changed from the overly heated discussion of minor hockey to the act of being part of your community. The discussion centered on how giving back to your community only then makes you part of the community. There were arguments about being a tax-payer makes you part of the community but the consensus rebuttal was how only giving of your time without asking for anything in return is the true definition of a citizen, otherwise you are just a resident. I know it’s utopic, but could you imagine how a city, town, village or hamlet would be if every resident became a citizen? I certainly would want to be a part of that community. Easy to talk of the perfect community just like it is easy to dream of winning the lottery.
Winning the lottery, something we all have dreamed of, repeatedly for me. I’ve wasted many a minute thinking of how and whom I would help. But what if winning the lottery is not about money but rather staying alive? Isn’t that the pinnacle of winnings? For some people being a match for organ donation is better than any money you could give them. The prize is the ability for their heart or kidneys to work as they were intended. What about being able to go for a walk on a spring day, all because you received two new lungs. You get the point; life has changed when you win this lottery, even more than if you have won millions.
This week I got to witness how this lottery works behind the scenes. I saw how the provincial agency Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN) operated. A compassionate, professional and very efficient program that takes a tragedy and turns it into a life-giving lottery win. Going back to the start of this blog let me tell you that the reason we were sitting around as a family was because my sister’s husband, a father of two wonderful 20-year-old twins, suffered a tragic accident. This accident unfortunately took his life way too early in his 50th year. Sometime prior to his death Les took a few minutes of his time and signed his donor card. This gesture, a small one that I am sure he never wanted to amount to anything, turned out to be absolutely large.
The TGLN delicately turned his request to be a donor into reality. While respecting the situation my sister and her family were in, they quietly and effectively started the process in motion to give the gift of life. Before we knew it, the process had quickly found potential donors and from there they narrowed that down to the lucky recipients that were least likely to reject Les’ organs. Once things were in place the process had begun, the decision to remove the respirator, the sad tearful goodbyes, watching Les breathe his last breath. Eight minutes removed from his support, Les was on his way to become a hero. Hero was a tough word for me to use with Les as he had his demons, which ultimately, in my opinion, brought him to this point. He, like most people in his situation, became at times self serving and manipulative to help feed his demons. He wasn’t the fun guy I knew years ago, he’d changed. But this gesture showed me that deep down inside there still was the guy I would like to remember. It was nice to know that under the cloak the demons covered him in there was still the guy I was proud to call my brother in law. It was nice to know that there was still some of that guy who always showed up when we as a family needed him most.
Because some of the old Les was still hanging around, someone, somewhere had just won the lottery of life. They are about to receive a new lease on life all because Les had taken a few minutes to gift the ultimate gift, life. In my opinion, Les is a top notch citizen of this community.
Please go to http://www.ontario.ca/health-and-wellness/organ-and-tissue-donor-registration and sign your donor card today.