Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Kindness of Strangers

I write a lot on here about organ donation.

The above statement shouldn't be surprising, of course, considering the fact that organ donation is the sole reason that I am still alive to type those words. When you're breathing with the lungs of another beautiful soul, it gets real easy, real fast to become a preacher for the cause. Like many people with cystic fibrosis and other serious illnesses, I know firsthand what it means to truly rely upon the kindness of strangers. And, as one of the very, very lucky group who has received an organ transplant (or a lifesaving gesture of any kind), I also understand how deeply that sort of gift can affect a person. I know the gratitude, the honor, the raw joy and emotion that comes with being rescued, because I feel it and live it every single day. And I can say wholeheartedly that my donor has made me a lifelong believer in the strength, power, and love inherent in the human spirit. In a single act he has left a resounding echo not just in my life, but in the lives of my friends, my family, and every living being that I might someday have the honor of doing a favor. He is a part of all of that, and of everything good that comes from me, ever.

And, perhaps most importantly, he has taught me through his gift that there is never any shame in asking for help -- sometimes even from a stranger.

I have a friend who was also lucky enough to receive a double-lung transplant for cystic fibrosis a few years ago. She is, as with most of my friends, a truly beautiful person -- inside and out. She is sweet, outgoing, funny, giving, playful, and full of love. She is a teacher, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and the owner of a dog who is almost as cute as Sampson. She once stopped with her sister by the side of the road to help rescue a baby deer who had been hit by a car. She is one of the first people I call every time anything goes wrong with my health. She is the only person I know with enough spunk to bring a magazine with Johnny Depp on the cover into one of her bronchoscopies so that she could guarantee herself sweet dreams. She is a huge fan of cookies and takes really good pictures on the beach near her house. She is, in short, an amazing light. And she could really use our help.

One of the downsides of lung transplant drugs is that they can seriously damage the kidneys. Sometimes, as in my friend's case, the progression of kidney disease can be fast and unrelenting, taking everyone by surprise and wreaking havoc on wonderful lives. At this point, there is a chance that my friend's sister may not be eligible to donate her kidney. The renal transplant team at my friend's hospital has advised that she begin the search for another potential donor. To say that this is a major gift in every sense would be an understatement. To say that it would be heroic, life-changing, and deeply beautiful would be equally so.

If you are at all interested in helping to spread the word about this remarkable young woman, or if you think you might be interested in potentially giving new life while hopefully enhancing your own, please contact me at for more information about how to get in touch with my friend. I know it's a long shot, but as everyone who has ever received a transplant will tell you: it is the seemingly impossible miracle that sometimes, every so often, turns out to be the gateway to endless possibilities for all involved.

Much love, beautiful people.


  1. Thank you my friend. Your kind words mean more than you'll ever know!! Love you!

  2. I love reading your blog, it's so inspiring as well as being so well written. I wish I had your way with words!
    Your friend sounds an amazing person, I really hope everything works out for her.
    I've awarded you a versatile blogger award, take a look at my blog for details.