A final lesson on giving

Published 8:47 pm Monday, December 19, 2011

As we approach Christmas, it’s a great time to acknowledge what you are grateful for. At the top of my own list, I count the lucky turn of events that led to me choosing the college I attended and meeting the people who are still my closest friends.

We all lived together back then, and we became a family, complete with new parents to share. It was truly wonderful to hear advice and entertaining stories from several new mothers.

So it made this Christmas season especially hard when we all gathered a little more than a week ago for the funeral of one of our mothers.

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Mrs. Price always had been quick with a joke, a bit of advice and a joyful attitude. Most of us could barely accept that someone so full of life could be gone.

We cried, remembered her life and comforted our friend.

But Mrs. Price had one more lesson for us.

Few of us knew that years ago she had needed two organ transplants.

During the funeral, the priest spoke of the gifts she had been given and her choice to give of herself, too.

It turned out that Mrs. Price had specified that in the event of her death, she would like to have as many organs donated as possible.

So when she fell into a coma and didn’t get any better, her daughter, Kristen, reminded her father of the decision. Once doctors were sure she wouldn’t recover, Mrs. Price was able to make several donations.

As Kristen later told us at the reception, her mother wasn’t truly gone. In fact, despite not making it to see one more Christmas, she had still been able to give one last gift — a second chance at life.

For many, organ donation isn’t something they want to sign up for or to even think about.

But the reality, according to www.donatelifevirginia.org, is that approximately three citizens in the Commonwealth die every week waiting for the gift of an organ.

The website also states that becoming an organ donor makes a person eligible to donate a heart, two parts of a liver, two kidneys, two lungs, intestine and a pancreas. One tissue donor can enhance the lives of more than 50 people.

In the end, something as simple as checking a box or filling out an online form can save or improve many lives.

As you gather with your family and exchange gifts this Christmas season, consider taking the steps necessary to ensure that one day you will be able to give the ultimate gift — life.

Visit www.donatelifevirginia.org to learn how you can sign up for organ donation.