April is National Donate Life Month. This article is meant to celebrate life as two of our own team members have direct connections to the cause of organ donation.
“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”
Nearly 124,000 men, women, and children are awaiting organ transplants in the United States. It’s an unimaginable circumstance these patients and their families find themselves in–to sit, wait and pray for a miracle. It happens around us every day. After being a volunteer for Louisiana Organ Donation agency (LOPA) for the last five years, witnessing tears of joy and the unthinkable tears of sorrow and pain, I have recently experienced a more personal outlook on the journey of organ donation.
The World is Small
I began working for the Therapy Center in February 2016. Within the first week of work, I immediately found a connection that ended up becoming a life changing experience. Being a volunteer for LOPA, an organization that has always had a special place in my heart, I always find some sort of way to spread the importance of saying “yes” to donation and sharing stories I have heard throughout the years. While sharing a particular story of a young man who saved the lives 5 people with a co-worker, she informed me that another Therapy Center employees’ father received a heart transplant a little over a year ago. And coincidentally, we would be meeting with her in the next few weeks. I also learned that Therapy Center and its employees rallied around her family during the time when organ donation didn’t seem like it would happen. Fundraisers were held and blood drives conducted, all to honor a man and a father who was fighting for his life.
A Life Changing Moment
While the anticipation built, I learned that my new co-worker, Amber Laprairie, OT, and her family would be meeting the family of the hero who saved her father’s life on March 8th, 2015. The two families were going to meet face to face at Lafayette General Medical Center with the opportunity for the donor’s family to hear their loved ones heart beating, although she was no longer with them.
April 1st was the start of organ donation awareness month and it was the morning where we were able to witness the result of a miracle that had taken place a little over a year ago. Raw emotion filled the air and there were no dry eyes in the room. What was amazing to witness is that even in the darkest of times, one family’s decision was able to impact the lives of so many people…and we all felt it and saw it happen before us.
I never expected such an experience to happen during my first few months with Therapy Center. It has been such a privilege to support my co-worker and her family and to honor the life of a true hero. I feel lucky to work for a company that fosters compassion for their own employees and this experience helped me to see it first hand. Therapy Center’s mission is much the same as LOPA and Lafayette General. We all exist to restore, maintain, and improve health and provide superior care to those in a time of need. It’s a beautiful thing when organization’s come together in a community, all with the same goal of “Making Life Happen”.
Article written by Kelly Kretzer, Marketing Liaison for Therapy Center