Today, 2/4/2010, marks the one thousandth extra day of LIFE that I’ve been given by way on an anonymous donor, who passed away on May 10, 2007. This persons heart was transplanted into my body, on May 11, 2007. It was a heart transplant that not only saved my life, but truly changed me forever. May God forever BLESS my donor and my donor’s family!
I’m a “numbers” guy. I enjoy math, statistics, trends, averages, you name it. The number, 1,000, is such a nice round number. Back in 2007, some months after my transplant, I sent a thank you to my donor family, through the proper channels. I never heard back, but I was determined that I would write again at possibly a less painful time, and the “Thousand Days” just kind of popped into my head.
When I wrote my original thank you, it took me forever. First, the pain of losing a loved one so recently has to be considered. Then there are many limitations what can / can’t be said in correspondence with a donor’s family. It’s all for privacy & protection of both the donor and the recipient. I wrote that first letter about 200 times, before declaring “enough was enough” and I sent it, through channels. I never heard back from the family, but that’s not unusual. I’m not sure of the exact statistics, but I’ve heard that only 5% to 15% do hear back. But, that’s not the goal. The goal is to let that family KNOW that someone out there cares and gives thanks daily for such an AWESOME gift.
A few of months ago I noted at that time, that my next “clinical visit” would be a little more than a week before my 1,000th day anniversary. I decided to have my letter ready to take with me, so it could be sent through the proper channels. It took me a while to write, and I made many changes ~ always trying to keep the donor family’s emotions in mind. When I was close to having my letter completed, a very nice woman saw one of my posts here (click here to see post) and we started a nice conversation in regard to thank you’s to donor families. I sent her what I had written and she liked it, and that helped me a LOT. (Thanks Deb)
My beautiful wife helped me pick out a card, and made a small change to the letter and last week I did, indeed, take it along, to go through the channels, to my donor family.
This is what I wrote ~
One Thousand Days, a Million Thoughts of You!
To my donor family ~
As I sit here and write this, I am approaching one thousand days of a new life. It’s a life where each and every day is not simply “ordinary”, but each and every day is a very special gift. I look at each day as a gift and a chance to do something nice for someone else. Each day is a day filled with giving thanks to my heart donor and my donor’s family.
When I think of this gift that I have received, I do get emotional. It’s bittersweet, yet I feel a connection, which I honor with never-ending thankfulness and gratitude. I have my real, very wonderful family, but I also have a family that has given me something precious, something so incredible, and it’s the ultimate gift ~ The gift of life.
My new heart beats with a wonderful, strong pace. My new heart has allowed me to spend extra time with my lovely wife as well as my son and his family, which now includes two fabulous grand-kids. I also volunteer to help inspire others, to give some hope.
As I approach this one thousand day milestone, I look forward to many, many more days, yet never forgetting my donor & donor family …. Taking each day separately, enjoying it to the fullest and giving thanks for this very special gift I’ve received.
I honor my donor daily and give thanks ~ a million times.
With heartfelt thanks, D and family