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My sister Whitney was everyone's best friend – whether she just met someone or had known them her whole life. She was so beautiful inside and out! Whitney wanted to be a model someday, and she was going to a modeling coach. She was involved in every activity from girl scouts to track, basketball, volleyball, speech and cheerleading. But her passion was modeling and fashion. The walls of her room were covered in pictures torn out from magazines of models, hairstyles, jewelry and prom dresses.
Jeff and I met when we were freshmen in college and were married in 2006. Jeff is a pharmacist and I am a teacher. We were thrilled to find out that we were having a baby and Abigail was born in June of 2009. My pregnancy was perfectly normal and although she arrived two weeks early, there was still no indication that something was wrong. She had some issues with jaundice at birth but with the help of the bilirubin blanket - a device used to treat jaundice - it seemed it was getting better. At six weeks of age, I took her to the pediatrician because she just seemed yellow still. Her liver numbers and bilirubin were incredibly high so they sent us to the hospital immediately.
Jesus was two-months-old when he received his new liver. He spent a week at Children's Hospital & Medical Center and was then transferred to The Nebraska Medical Center. After his transfer, he waited six days for a new liver.
In December 2009, Tim and I found out that we were expecting our second child. Our son Noah was just 16-months-old at the time. We were elated that we would soon be adding another member to our growing family!
The Games were held in Madison, Wisconsin in July. Every two years, state teams of organ transplant recipients from all over the country compete in olympic-style games, including track and field events, golf, swimming, bicycling, basketball, bowling and many other sports. There are also special events for donor family members and a special Donor Family Reception. It’s a wonderful celebration of the gift of life! The location for the 2012 Games has not yet been announced.
“The theme of the fall Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Fairs was ‘Rock Your Health,’ so who better to serve as our Donate Life Nebraska ambassador than “Elvis,” aka Jack Kouth. Jack, a longtime advocate for organ, eye and tissue donation and a member of the Donate Life Nebraska Board of Directors, is a retired chaplain and a donor father. Employees enjoyed hearing him croon Elvis tunes as they visited our booth and learned how to sign up as a donor in Nebraska.”
Kidney/pancreas recipient Wendi Showell and her mom, Vicki, volunteered to hand out information about organ donation and sell t-shirts and sweatshirts at the Papillion LaVista High School craft fair. The shirts are imprinted with “Donate Life Nebraska” and “Organ Donors Have Their Hearts in the Right Place” logos. Money raised through the shirt sales help New Hearts Transplant Support Group, one of Donate Life Nebraska’s member organizations, sponsor a special reception for donor families in April.
Donate Life Nebraska hosted the 2010 Cox Classic Check Presentation on October 25, 2010 in the Nebraska Medical Center Atrium, where checks totaling $167,712 from the proceeds of the Nationwide Tour’s Cox Classic Golf Tournament were presented to 12 local charities. The Cox Classic has given more than $1.8 million to local charities over the last 15 years.
Kidney recipient Rose Finnell (left) was a guest speaker at the Health Symposium sponsored by the Omaha Chapter of LINKS, a service organization of professional Black women, on Sept. 25, 2010. Rose spoke to the group about the importance of minorities becoming organ, eye and tissue donors. Heart recipient Sybil Jackson (right) volunteered at the Donate Life Nebraska booth, providing information about how to sign up as a donor in Nebraska.
The Donate Life flag flying over the Nebraska State Capitol is a heartwarming sight. The display is part of a national initiative, Flags Across America, to honor and celebrate the hundreds of thousands of donors and recipients whose lives have been affected by organ, eye and tissue donation. Variations of the Donate Life flag (house flag, stick flag, car flag, garden flag, 5′ x 3′ flags) are available for the public to purchase at Donate Life America’s online store.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently received notification of an alleged scam whereby patients waiting for an organ transplant are contacted by phone and requested to provide money in exchange for receiving a donor organ.
It is unlawful to buy and sell organs for transplant in the United States.
If you missed it on Thanksgiving Day, be sure to check out the CBS NFL Today story on former Begals wide receiver Chris Henry, who became an organ donor after a fatal car accident.