Memories ~ Something In The Post

One year, Emma and I must have been in Standard Six (Grade 8) and as usual after school we were together, this time at her house. On this afternoon Emma’s older sister Tracy was also there and at some point she was really excited about something that had arrived in the post.

Emma and I went out into the passage to see what all the excitement was about. She was holding some sort of silver bracelet in her hand and she went on to tell us that she had become an organ donor and this was her bracelet with her details on.  I don’t know about Emma but I didn’t really know exactly what organ donation was all about as it was the first time I had heard of it so Tracy went on to explain it to us.

That part of that day is so vivid in my memory. I remember walking home later that day thinking I want to become an organ donor. When I arrived home I announced to my mom I wanted to become an organ donor, she replied “okay” and carried on with what she was doing. Fantastic, that was easy!

Years passed and I just never got to become an organ donor. I would pick up the application form when at the doctor but I just never got around to sending it off. Once I got as far as filling it out, it just never reached the post box. But that feeling of wanting to become a donor never left me. Finally, when I reached matric (grade 12) I sent that form off and before I knew it my very own organ donor bracelet had arrived.  Since that day, I have worn my bracelet every single day. My family as well as most of my good friends know that I want to donate my organs one day should  happen that something happens to me.

To this day I often get asked what I am allergic to. I sometimes joke and say men, but then I tell them that I’m just donating my organs. Almost all people are happy with that simple answer. Just recently, for the first time ever, someone asked me why I wear a bracelet for that. It was a reasonable question as you can have an organ donor card in your wallet or as in my case my family and friends know therefore they could let doctors know should anything happen to me. But that’s not enough for me. I hate carrying handbags and wallets around with me (I am far from a girly girl) so it wouldn’t help if I had an organ donor card in my wallet because 80% of the time I don’t have my wallet on me. Same applies with my family and friends, I am not always with them and what would happen if I was alone somewhere and something happened to me? I want medical personnel to know immediately that I’m donating my organs. Hence, I wear a bracelet every single day.

It’s strange how sometimes we get a strong pull towards something. Almost like a calling. Ever since that afternoon when Emma’s older sister Tracy told us about organ donation I knew without a doubt I wanted to be a donor. It was only years later I came to realise how meaningful being a donor was to personally become to me. Towards the end of Emma’s life she had a heart and lung transplant. Someone out there had generously donated their organs, Emma was the recipient, just when she needed it most. Now, I hope one day to give that gift to someone too.

Tracy, thank you for unknowingly inspiring me that one day back in 1988. Being an organ donor means more to me than most people will ever realise. Thank you for that gift!

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