Thursday, April 30, 2009

Alyssa Milano, meet Laura

Welcome to Service – The Action Form of Love

I’d like to share a success story. Admittedly, it’s an old story, but sometimes a story needs to “age” in order to appreciate its full value.

18 years ago, a baby was born to a Utah couple. Even before birth, there were indications that things were not going well. There were complications. The baby had somehow developed a condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome.

When little Laura was born, the staff at the hospital advised her parents to take her home and love her as much as they could, because her life-expectancy was days or weeks, rather than years.

Laura’s parents did take her home, but they took her home to live, not to die.

They moved to California to be near Loma Linda University Hospital, who was then pioneering infant heart transplants. Maybe you’ve heard about this – it was in the news in the late 1980’s.

They got Laura on a waiting list, and within weeks, they were told to rush to the hospital – a donor heart had been secured. In short order, Laura had someone else’s gently used heart beating inside her tiny chest.

Day after day, mom and dad and the hospital staff monitored little Laura, watching for signs that her immune system was rejecting its new resident heart. Day after day, they prayed, worried and wondered if the next news story about a baby dying after transplant would feature Laura as the casualty.

Laura’s grandmother recorded several instances in her journal of scares the family had. Nobody really knew whether these oft occurring incidents meant the end, or even the beginning of the end.

Laura is now a healthy high-school graduate, looking forward to college, marriage and life. So, this is a success story for her, to be sure, but it’s also a success story of a system put in place to help people, babies and adults, like Laura.

This is also a success story of organ donation.

Without a family’s willingness, even at a very painful time of their own child’s death, to allow doctors to harvest organs, Laura would certainly have died before she emerged from toddlerhood.

Are you an organ donor?

I am.

Your neighbor is.

Your coworker is.

Even celebrities realize the importance of organ donation.

Alyssa Milano revealed that she is an organ donor as well as a bone-marrow donor. Though she hasn’t been asked to donate her bone marrow, and, obviously no other organs, the point is, she’s willing.

This is the young lady who involves her fans on twitter (and perhaps other social media) and is very open about her willingness to help out. In fact, just today, she was instrumental in trying to help find a home for a pet that faced imminent euthanasia. Turns out she’s a kind soul who is a great model for serving others. Kudos to her and the fans who help her serve.

So, here’s your challenge today. I’m not going to ask you to run out and sign up to be an organ donor. But, I am going to ask you to seriously consider it. Talk it over with your family. Discuss the ramifications. Make sure they understand your wishes. Ask more than one family member or close friend to speak up for you when it’s your time to put off this mortal coil. Put your wishes in writing. Don’t make your family second-guess their decision when the time comes. The decision has to be made quickly, and there may not be time for discussion.

There it is. One more small and simple way to serve others – that has a huge payoff to the recipient of your selflessness.

Thank you for reading and accepting today’s challenge. I know this is a really tough decision for some to make. Think it over, and then make your decision.

(In the interest of full disclosure, Alyssa Milano does not sponsor nor endorse my blog - and Laura is related to me)

Please feel free to share this with anyone you like. You may email it, forward it, post it, tweet it, stumble and digg it. Together we’re getting out the word that…

Service is The Action Form of Love


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