“Be a gift. Have a heart . . . your life will live again.”
Over 20 years ago, a child was born with a defective heart. Within a few days of his birth, he underwent a heart transplant, and his parents suffered and prayed and cried and hoped and hoped some more. And thanks to a wonderful medical team and constant care and a committed and loving family, he survived.
And he grew. But as he grew, he was always at risk that that little heart might be rejected by a body that did not want intruders. And so he had to take medications throughout his life to prevent rejection, and to keep his body strong, because even a cold or the flu could be life-threatening.
But against all obstacles, he survived, he graduated high school, and he went to college.
And during college, that little heart started to fail. And he became sick. His kidneys started to fail, perhaps because of years of medications. He went into the hospital. And it was determined that he needed a new heart.
But he was too sick to be able to undergo a transplant. Then it was determined that he needed a new kidney and a new heart. Some organs became available, and some were deemed to be compatible with his body, but he was too sick to be able to undergo the surgery.
And his parents and his sister and his brother and extended family and friends suffered and prayed and cried and hoped and hoped some more. And somehow he rallied enough to be able to undergo the surgery to give him a new heart. And then, and day or two later, a new kidney. And he survived!
And he graduated college. And now he goes around the country encouraging organ donation. His name is Bill Coon.
He is a testament to medical miracles, medical skills, committed medical professionals, a loving family, health insurance, and the kindness of someone who donated organs that could keep him alive.
This poem was written for him. And for you too, because someday, sadly, you might need a heart or a kidney or a liver or corneas or other organs, or someone you love might need one or more of them. There are plenty of people in need, and not enough donors. Donate life. You might always be someone’s Valentine in a different sort of way, a way that might keep them alive.
To see more organ donation pieces, click here.