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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Organ donation gives a second chance at life

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Organ donation gives a second chance at life

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April is Organ Donation Awareness Month. Organ donation is very near and dear to my family's heart! Our middle son, Stephen, had cystic fibrosis (May is Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month).

Cystic fibrosis is a progressive genetic disease for which there is no cure. In order to give them a second chance at life, they will need a lung transplant.

Stephen, at the age of 25, received a double lung transplant in 2016. This gave our son 3½ years that he wouldn't have had had not someone said yes to being an organ donor. We are forever grateful to Stephen's donor/family for giving him the most unselfish gift one human being can give to another human being!

Unfortunately, people die every day while waiting for an organ transplant. This is because there aren't enough organs or enough matches.

If you aren't an organ donor, please consider becoming one. It's easy to do. Just check the box on your driver's license (you'll have a little heart on your license if you are a donor). If you are a donor, please be sure your family knows your wishes.

When you become an organ donor, you never know how many potential lives you could save! I was fortunate to be my son's caregiver during his transplant journey. It was a truly amazing and humbling experience! Thanks to his donor/family, Stephen was able to do things that he hadn't been able to do prior to his transplant, things he had to give up because he couldn't breathe without oxygen 24/7.

While organ donation is not a cure, it gives the person a second chance at life!

The average lifespan of a person who receives a transplant varies. It depends on the organ being transplanted, how sick the person was prior to transplant and the person's course of recovery (everyone's journey is different, even with the same organs).

I pray every day for Stephen's donor and family, for the gift of life they gave him! I pray that one day we will be able to meet them or speak to them! If not, we will continue to be forever grateful to them!

So, this month, every month, every day and every year, we will never forget what Stephen's donor/family did for him! Although Stephen never got a chance to say thank you to his donor's family, he was truly and forever grateful! Unfortunately, last February Stephen died from chronic rejection and complications of cystic fibrosis.

Stephen had planned to advocate for organ donation and cystic fibrosis awareness to help find a cure. Unfortunately, he never got the chance. I will proudly share his story. I know that this is what Stephen would want!

So please consider being an organ donor if you aren't already one. Organ donation is the most unselfish gift one human being can give to another human being! If you are unsure about being an organ donor or have questions about organ donation, please contact Sharing Hope SC.

PEGGY HAWKINS

Florence

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