“When I was told that the theme for this year’s Reflections program was “Heroes Around Me” I thought that doing a writing on organ donors would be an awesome thing for someone to learn about. I think the heroes around me are heroes because they donated or received the gift of life.” ~ Kyleigh’s brother at age 8
When our children’s school sent home information on the PTA Reflections Program this past September, our middle child immediately showed interest. He is our creative one with a big imagination, so it didn’t surprise me that he wanted to explore this contest of the Arts. The theme for this year was “Heroes Around Me” and his mind went straight to organ/tissue donation. He interviewed three people whose lives have been affected by organ/tissue donation and submitted a literature piece, “Heroes Through Donation,” to the school PTA Reflections program.
“The heroes around me are heroes because they donated or received the gift of life. My sister Kyleigh is a hero because she was a tissue donor. … Kyleigh is a hero to me because even in death she gave the gift of life by donating tissue. … My friend Hannah is a hero because she had a heart transplant. … Hannah is a hero to me because I thought she was really brave when she had her heart transplant. … Blair is a hero because she donated 6 organs giving the gift of life to 5 people. Blair’s mom decided to donate Blair’s organs because Blair lived as a loving, kind, and giving person. …” ~excerpts from “Heroes Through Donation”
A few months later, we learned that he received first place in Literature for his age/grade division at our local school. As you can imagine, we were very proud of him! The school held a nice awards ceremony and showcased everyone’s work. It was there that we learned his Literature piece would go on to the state level.
In March, he received word that his writing was awarded Honorable Mention at the Missouri State PTA Reflections Program. There was to be an awards ceremony for this as well, taking place just a few days after Kyleigh’s birthday in April. April is also Donate Life Month, so what better way to raise awareness on organ/tissue donation than to be recognized for writing about it! We decided to take a quick day trip so that he could participate and be honored for his work.
This morning, our family took part in the Legacy Walk that is put on by Midwest Transplant Network for all donor and recipient families. It was a wet, cool day for May 11, but that didn’t keep people home. Everyone was there to celebrate someone. Between raising awareness for organ/tissue donation and pregnancy/infant loss, we attend a handful of events each year. The Legacy Walk is the one event that gets me every year. I walk around with a lump in my throat the entire time. A sea of people, all there because their lives are touched by organ/tissue donation. You don’t always know who the donor families and recipient families are. Some groups contain both. But what you do know is everyone is there for a common goal…to celebrate the gift of life.
The video below will not play directly from here, but if you click ‘Watch on Facebook’, you can see two families who met at the Legacy Walk for the first time. A donor family and a recipient family at the same event, not even realizing it. Amazing.
If someone you know has been touched by organ/tissue donation, I encourage you to attend the Legacy Walk next year. It truly is an amazing event and I’m convinced that one of these years, the sun will shine!
Oh, and if you haven’t registered to be an organ/tissue donor, do it today. You may give someone the gift of life. https://registerme.org/