While looking for some information regarding organ donation, I came across this powerful link called, “Spirituality and Organ Donation: Maribel’s Kidney Story.” Within this story was a message that I would be honored to pass on to the one who will be in charge of my End of Life decisions, mainly because it speaks powerfully of donating any and all of our organs that might be able to save one life, eight lives or numerous lives. This is the message:
“The day will come when my body will lie upon a white sheet, neatly tucked under four corners of a mattress located in a hospital busily occupied with the living and the dying. At a certain moment, a doctor will determine that my brain has ceased to function and that, for all intents and purposes, my life has stopped.
“When that happens, do not attempt to instill artificial life into my body by the use of a machine. And don’t call this my deathbed. Let it be called the Bed of Life, and let my body be taken from it to help others live fuller lives.
“Give my sight to a man who has never seen a sunrise, a baby’s face or the love in the eyes of a woman. Give my heart to a person whose own heart has pain. Give my blood to the teenager who was pulled from the wreckage of his car so that he might live to see his grandchildren play. Give my kidneys to one who depends on a machine to exist from week to week.”
“Take my bones, every muscle, ever fiber and nerve in my body and find a way to make a crippled child walk. Explore every corner of my brain. Take my cells, if necessary, and let them grow so that someday a speechless boy will shout at the crack of a bat and a deaf girl will hear the sound of rain against the windows.
“If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my weaknesses and all my prejudice against my fellow man. Give my sins to the devil. Give my soul to God. If by chance you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs you.” [End of quote]
To whoever wrote this message as a rite of passage, I say, “Wow, thank you and God bless you!” May you be blessed with all the blessings that heaven can provide because you are setting a great example for us by letting us know exactly what the Lord means when he says, ‘No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
Oh, there are a million ways in which we can “lay down our lives for others” through our love and our charity while we are still alive, but how great is it to know that at the end of our lives we still might be able to “lay down our lives” by donating an organ to others that can and will help them live long and healthy lives, both physically and spiritually, all because you and I were willing to take 15 minutes to fill out a card which said, “Donate Life!”
In thanksgiving to God for the life that he has given us, we have an opportunity to “pay it forward,” by our willingness to register as a donor, knowing that we can give a gift of a lifetime that will continue to keep on giving if we can save the life of one person who will go out and give life to his or her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, etc. One of our donated organs can cause a “ripple effect” of good news and give birth to a whole community, simply because we raised our hand and said, “Here I am, Lord, pick me!”
“More than 120,000 Americans are currently awaiting for an organ transplant. On average, 150 people are added to the nation’s organ transplant waiting list every day, one every 10 seconds. Sadly, an average of 22 patients die every day while waiting, simply because the organ they needed was not donated in time. Approximately, 81 organ transplants take place every day in the United States, that’s more than 29,000 people who begin new lives each year.” A living donor can provide a kidney or portion of their liver, lung, pancreas or intestine to someone in need” — Fast Facts about Organ Transplant.
Troy Medina, a man who is loved and respected by many in the church and local community here in Tooele County is a recipient of an organ transplant, and therefore he does not only want to “pay it back,” but to “pay it forward” by sponsoring an Organ Donation Awareness Presentation here in the gymnasium at St. Marguerite Catholic Church on Saturday, July 28, starting at 1 p.m. This less than one-hour workshop will include a professional power-point presentation by Intermountain Donor Service (IDS) that will highlight the importance of organ donation and offer a variety of ways in which we can be a part of saving lives. Prior to the presentation, Troy will offer a brief reflection from the perspective of an organ recipient, and Mr. Burke Kilburn will also offer a brief message from the perspective of a father whose 14 year-old son, Dakota, became a donor and a Life-Saver at the end of his life for Troy.
Anyone and everyone are welcome to attend the presentation in order to learn more about this amazing ministry, so please come and join us. “Nearly all religious groups support organ and tissue donation and transplantation as long as it does not impede the life or hasten the death of a donor.” For more information about the religious view of your particular denomination, please Google “Religious Views on Organ Donation — Donate Life” which will pull up close to 25 major religions and their particular views.
Please think about organ donation and pray about it. Your decision today can change a life tomorrow and create a better world now and for the future!
Rev. Vialpando is the priest at St. Marguerite Catholic Church in Tooele.