At Toastmasters this week, I gave a speech that was titled “The Gift of Life.” In the speech I detailed in roughly 7 minutes how three different people have had an incredible impact on how I thought about blood donation, and also tissue and organ donation.
Two years ago, Susan and I did the Donor Dash as she was waiting on the transplant list for a Liver. Susan was my girlfriend and later fiancé until early 2014. I never lost hope that she would get her transplant and live a long and productive life. Sadly, that was not meant to be but tomorrow I will carry on and walk the walk and remember her while I do.
I’ve been organ and tissue donor since 1995. The pivotal event that happened in 1995 was that New York Yankee icon Mickey Mantle was diagnosed with severe liver disease due to alcoholic consumption. In early summer of 1995, Mickey received a liver transplant. As I detail in my speech, there was a firestorm of controversy surrounding this transplant. There were insinuations that Mickey received his transplant because of his status as a baseball celebrity. I’m not here to debate that, all I know is that one of my childhood idols received a liver transplant, and then proceeded to die from liver cancer two days before my birthday, on August 15, 1995. It was this realization that sparked me to action. At that time, there was a huge influx of people who became tissue and organ donors because of what had transpired with Mickey Mantle. No matter what you want to say about his illness, it inspired people to help others and that can only be a good thing.
Tomorrow during the Donor Dash my thoughts will primarily be on Sue and her struggle, but I will also remember my father and his struggle with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. It was his struggle that first opened my eyes to the need for people to be blood donors.
You do not have to spend money to help people, giving blood and being an organ and tissue donor can also have an impact on someone’s life. If you would like to know more about my thoughts, watch the Toastmasters speech I have embedded above. Think about a donation as you go about your daily activities…
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