Remember “pagers”? I do. I had one way back when, before everyone had smart phones. I was 20 years old and I never went anywhere without that pager… always waiting for the sound of that “beep”, checking the batteries every day, testing the volume, turning on the vibration. I took that pager everywhere with me… to the bathroom sink while I showered, to the nightstand while I slept, even out on dates with me. I had a 24/7 relationship with that pager. All I ever wanted was to hear the sound of the “beep”. Day in and day out I listened for a “beep” that never came… until it did.
April 15th, 1996 was a day that changed everything for my family. All of our pagers beeped that coveted sound which signaled a brand new day for my father, a new lease on life. That was the day my dad received his first life saving gift of a kidney transplant. I know our family was in the very good company of thousands of other families who were also on waiting lists for organ donations… waiting for their pagers to beep, waiting for organ donations, waiting for the chance to have healthy futures with the family members they held so dear.
After that day, for us, everything changed. Paper towels replaced kitchen towels. Antibacterial hand soap abounded. My parents avoided crowds and did everything they could to limit my dad’s exposure to germs. We were all deeply thankful for the gift of life that my dad received and equally respectful of the awesome responsibility to take good care of it.
Kidney disease is cruel, and transplants are not cures. November 4th, 1996 marked my dad’s 61st birthday and second incredible gift of life… this time from my sister. Lindsey Grandbois Waddell is a loving wife, devoted mother, gifted physician, cherished daughter, sister and aunt, and a beloved friend. She gave our father one of her kidneys and in so doing, she gave us all a future with our dad in it. I will forever be humbled by her selflessness, her love for life, and her loyalty to all of those she holds dear. She is strong and smart and funny, and so very loved.
Since my dad’s first transplant in 1996, he has walked all three of his daughters down the aisle at our weddings, welcomed eight grandchildren to the world, and celebrated 48 years of marriage to my mother. I can’t imagine how my life would be different without my dad in it.
Please join the “Transplant Trotters” in the 2022 GREEN 5K to help us raise awareness and support for organ donation so that the transplant waiting lists get shorter and more families are blessed with the gift of life as ours has been. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
We are participating in the Green 5K to support Iowa Donor Network and their mission
Working Together to Transform Lives Through Organ and Tissue Donation.