For the second time, my library is participating in Michigan Libraries for Life. The aim is to educate patrons about organ, tissue, and eye donation and to actually help people sign on to the Michigan Organ Donor Registry. Since 2010 this effort has expanded to include public, academic, special, and hospital libraries across the state. From Monday October 7 to Sunday October 13 you can come to participating Michigan libraries to learn more or to sign up with the Registry. It only takes a few minutes but the impact is enormous!
About 3,000 people in Michigan are waiting for a transplant and new hope for life. Probably someone you know has been or will be impacted by the need for an organ. Here are some of the organ donation stories just from our library employees alone:
• Jon from Information Technology: Jon’s young daughter Bridget was diagnosed recently with the extremely rare chronic kidney disorder Nephronophthisis which damaged both of her kidneys. Fortunately, Bridget didn’t have to go on the waiting list because her mom Amy gave her the gift of life this past summer, donating one of her kidneys to Bridget. A precious gift from mother to daughter!
• Larissa from Circulation gave the gift of life to her father two years ago when he developed kidney disease. She said: “I found out he would have to wait four years to receive a cadaver kidney. Dialysis is very hard on the body, plus it was heartbreaking to see his quality of life decline. So when he went into complete renal failure, I called my parents and offered mine.”
• Kiersten from Circulation was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease several years ago and had started dialysis when her best friend Theresa stepped up to give her the gift of life. This year they celebrated the tenth anniversary of the donation. When Theresa found out she was a match for her friend she had only one thing to say at the time: “Let’s do this!”
- • Wendy from Public Services: “My sister in law needed a kidney last year due to kidney failure and diabetes. Her husband was a perfect match! So the whole family journeyed to Ann Arbor the day of surgery. Took his kidney out and put it in her and she is doing great now… A happy turn out for this family!”
- • Cheryl, Community Library Head: “At the eleventh hour a close family friend with Cystic Fibrosis received a lung transplant that truly saved her life. At 46 years of age she has beaten the odds for this disease, in thanks to this transplant. She is now an avid runner and is a beautiful, brave and strong woman who is forever grateful to her donor.”
• Dallas from Public Services: ”My mother had a heart transplant at Ann Arbor. She received the heart of a young man who had died in a car accident. At the time of surgery, we were told she would live about five more years. Considering that she was on oxygen and getting weaker every day, this was great news. I remember sitting in the waiting room and watching a team of workers go through with a cooler that held the heart. Mom’s life quality was pretty bad after the surgery, but I know all of us were thankful for the extra time we had with her. She was the oldest recipient of a heart at that time…I guess the most amazing part of this is that she lived for fifteen years with a transplanted heart! Whenever I think of the man who gave my mother her extra years, I am thankful. Every person in our family is a donor!!”