• margaretfmadigan

Hey, You Gonna' Finish That Pancreas?

So… who here is willing to give their heart to another?

What a romantic thought, huh?

No, I mean really.  Like as in your actual heart, the organ… physically.

And to give it to someone you don’t even know.

After your gone.  Passed on.  Ceased to be.  Expired and gone to meet your maker.  Bereft of life.

(Monty Python “Parrot sketch” anyone?)

I have a friend that is very dear to me, (I’ve just been a pain in the ass for him though heh heh) that is alive right now  due to the kindness of another human being who happened to choose to be an organ donor.

My friend is Gaetano “Gates” Orlando, a retired professional hockey player.  He played for many years for the Rochester Amerks, Buffalo Sabres, an Italian professional hockey team, and the Italian National team in 2 Olympics.

Gates was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, a rare form of heart failure in January 2011. Later that spring, he was fitted with a defibrillator vest as a safety net.  The device saved his life as he had sudden cardiac death (his heart stopped for 40 seconds) at his home on May 22, 2011. The vest shocked him back to life.

But obviously his heart was rapidly failing.  His heart was removed on April 4, 2012, and he survived with an artificial heart until transplant surgery on Feb. 4th of this year.

The transplant of a new heart donated by a person who believed it was important to leave part of themselves behind to help those in need.   Sounds corny but, that someone decided to give the precious gift of health and possibly life to someone after they were gone.

So why not be a donor?  Why not just make that choice at the DMV to mark your license as a donor?  Well, everyone has their reasons or concerns.  It’s ok, let’s talk about it…

For one… who wants to talk about death?  Kinda’ morbid, huh?  Well ya’ know what, shit happens and death happens.  It’s a part of life.  You know, the circle of life and all that jazz.  No one lives forever, might as well get used to it.  Start talking about it.  It’s ok, really.  Talk about what will happen to you at the end of your life with your loved ones.  And dude, make a will while you’re at it, seriously I’ve seen too many spouses and kids get screwed because there was no will.  Anyway…

Talk about end of life.  Consider becoming an organ donor.  I know you are afraid of a few things.  What happens if I’m not quite dead and then they take out something when I could have survived?  Believe me, that’s not happenin’.  A hospital will make every effort to save your life.  Get the ideas from the movies out of your head.  No one is harvesting organs to trade like they’re at the public market.  “We have a great deal on spleens today!”

Worried about still wanting to have an open casket if you donate?  No worries, you can still have one, they take great care in removing said organs or tissue.  Hey, it’s not like gutting a fish… even in death you are treated with dignity and with the utmost care.  So get the notion of being sliced and diced like a hibachi restaurant out of your head as well.

Another concern might be your family’s expenses.  Rest assured there is no cost at all to those you leave behind.

Think it might be bad juju with God?  All major religions in the United States support organ, eye and tissue donation and see it as the final act of love and generosity toward others.

Ok so, think of this… what if your organs weren’t used to save someone’s life but were used for research to possibly find cures that might save your Children, Grandchildren or Great-Grandchildren some day?  That’s kinda’ nice, huh?  Help out your little bubulas won’t you?

I’m not the be all authority on this, it’s best you go to www.donatelife.net to answer more of your questions or concerns.  You may also register to become a donor on that site along with the DMV.

I already chose to be a donor before Gates’ ordeal, but his transplant has me realizing the importance and the need.  And it has become and important cause that Gates wants to bring attention to.  He’s incredibly grateful to have his time on Earth extended, and so are his children.  And I’m grateful he’s my friend and he’s still here.  So please consider organ donation.  I know Gates would say “grazie”.  🙂

So who’s an organ donor here?  Who’s thinking about it?

#artificialheart #GatesOrlando #organdonors #organdonation #giftoflife #friends #hockey

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