Like a thief in the night, death can be sudden and surprising or similar to the pesky little chipmunk, knawing at your plants each day it can be a long drawn out ordeal. I counted approximately four incidents when I "died" while battling Congestive Heart Failure.
By this I mean, my heart had stopped temporarily. Either due to heart medications, defibrillator, cardioversion paddles or the will of God, I came through them all. I hung on long enough to be re-born through the miracle of a heart transplant on April 17, 2008. I was an extremely lucky forty-five year old man.
Unfortunately, there are thousands awaiting transplants of some nature but never receive them. Many of these people will die. We are increasing the general public's awareness of the organ donation through the media and other groups but the numbers are still staggeringly low.
According to the New York Organ Donor Network (NYODN), only 18 percent of the population is registered. (The national median is 42 percent.)
I'm frequently asked was I a donor before becoming sick. I always give the honest answer "No." We didn't have the abundant knowledge of organ donation back then.
As a young man, I never took the time to stop, listen and perhaps make a difference. "That doesn't apply to me" seems to be one piece of logic. My testimony begs to differ.
Now when I speak to large groups or stand outside of DMV encouraging those to make a difference, I feel great about myself and the fact that my unselfish donor had the courage to want to help just in case. I am forever indebted to that gracious twenty-one year old male and his family.