Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Gift of Life

A few days ago, I wrote a long-overdue letter, a letter of thanks to the family who donated their loved one's organs and gave Zoe the chance to fight. Zoe did not undergo an organ transplant, however, a complication during her Norwood/Stage I surgery required the use of donated heart tissue - an allograft.

Caleb and I are both registered organ donors; we registered several years ago. Since Zoe's birth, we realize the importance of our decision. If you're not a donor, please educate yourself and consider the difference you could make in another families' lives. Each organ and tissue donor saves or improves the lives of as many as 50 people. To find out more about organ donation or to register, click here.

Please take a minute and share in our gratitute to the family who gave Zoe her gift of life.

Dear Donor Family,

There does not seem to be a perfect, or right way, to express our gratitude to you and your family. Please know that we very sorry for your loss.

It may seem like a small thing to many, the gift of donated tissue, but this gift has given our newborn daughter a fighting chance. Our daughter, Zoe, was born with a rare congenital heart defect – Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Essentially, she has only half a heart. With medical advancements over the past two decades, Zoe’s physicians reconstructed her heart.

She underwent her first (of a series of three) open heart surgeries at 15 hours old. During that surgery, her cardiothoracic surgeon used your generous gift of heart tissue to essentially rebuild her right ventricle to perform the work of both ventricles. Without compassionate families like yours, our daughter would not be with us today.

We do not know if our gratitude can help your healing, but we want you to know that you and your loved one made our lives better. Zoe is now 3 months old and awaiting her second open heart surgery. She is happy and brings us joy each and every day. We hope that her smile can bring you a sense of peace and that her eyes relay her gratitude – of which someday she’ll understand to the deepest depths, far within her heart.

Please know that we will always cherish your gift and remember your loved one.

With warm regards,

Zoe’s grateful parents

1 comment:

  1. Stacey, it's beautiful. I have been an organ donor for many years. I feel like I must have done something right along the way -- when my son turned 18 and applied for his new "woohoo I'm legal now" driver's license, he too became an organ donor. What a wonderful gift and I think you've done an incredible job in your letter conveying your sincere, heartfelt appreciation. I don't think I've mentioned it in the past couple of days... Zoe and her parents ROCK!