Benny Boyd

Life is a gift.

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It’s been about three years since organ donation came into the fringes of my thoughts, in large part because of the heartbreaking and uplifting story of a local family, who lost a little one and made the beautiful decision to donate his organs.

Life is a circle, his mother said, and because of their decision to donate his organs, little Spencer’s circle could go

on forever.

As I imagine many people do, I thought about organ donation, considered it, and comprehended what a beautiful thing it would be to know that, should my time here on earth end unexpectedly and abruptly, a part of me could help to save someone else, and allow another person to have a long and happy life.

I thought about it, but I’ll confess – I didn’t do anything about it.

The concept of organ donation came back into the foregrounds of my thoughts about six weeks ago when I discovered that, at the same time as one of my high school acquaintances was receiving a lung transplant, one of my dear friends from my college days was checking into the ICU, where he would remain until a donor match was found to give him a new start, and another chance at life with his wife and their two children.

Watching my Facebook status updates daily as the one recovered from his surgery and moved into rehab, and the other watched and waited from his hospital bed really got me thinking.

What if I was “the one,” and I haven’t registered to be an organ donor yet? What if, God forbid, something happened to me, and my own laziness and inactivity wound up costing my friend his life, and his children their father? That’s not a legacy I want.

Late on Tuesday night, my friend got word – a heart has come through, and he’s getting his transplant and his second chance.

Truly, in the emotional and physical senses of the word, both of these men’s lives, from today forward, are a gift. They will continue to be with us because someone else lost a loved one and decided, rather than wallow in death and loss, they would choose life – even if that choice meant life for someone else.

That? That’s the kind of legacy I would want – the kind of legacy we should all want.

According to figures supplied by the national organ donor registry
(www.organdonor.gov), 77 or so people receive organ transplants every day. Nineteen others die, every single day, waiting – because there aren’t enough organs available. There is a shortage of donors.

I know some people have religious reasons for not donating their organs. Others, might have a medical reason. Some, myself included until recently, think there is no point in registering to be an organ donor. After all, I used to be a heavy smoker; I used to drink more than I probably should. Who would ever want my organs?

As I learned in the last six weeks: Someone does. If the unthinkable should happen to me, someone, somewhere out there, that I will probably never meet or know, needs my help, is praying for my help and, most likely, deserves it.

They say life is a gift. I’ve come to decide that it’s a gift worth giving.

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