I have autographed photos and equipment of professional clients. Many of us have become friends and I cherish them dearly.
Then there are friends that I helped at my fitness studio and others I met during the Transplant Games. The transplant games are Olympic competitions for athletes with transplants. Don’t let the word “transplant”fool you. Many were high-level athletes before their organ loss and still compete in competitions against able-bodied competitors. During these events, people are seen with photos on their shirts. They wear the photos of loved ones they lost and donated their organs. They are there to support the ones who received their loved one’s gift of life. Others wear the photo and or name of their donor to honor them. Families who wear these photos of loved ones are treated with much respect and their pictures are revered.
Families treasure their loved ones’ photos and keep them as a badge of honor.
I was not competing but at a booth. I then had a woman come to my assistant and asked, “Who is he?” She explained I had a kidney transplant and the woman looked astonished. She came over with her husband, son, and small daughter. She explained to me that her 10-year-old daughter was recently killed by a drunk drive. I watched her husband and son drop their heads and tear up. She said, “I was walking through and thinking to myself I may have done the wrong thing. I wanted to see someone thriving to an unbelievable point if they received my baby’s organs. Then I saw you and confirmed, we did the right thing. We shared a hug, and tears and I thanked them for their gift.
Even though I did not receive her organ, I thanked her for the others.
The next day I was walking through and I saw her son trying to get to me. He was blocked and I said let him through. He came up to me, removed his pendant, and gave it to me. It was a photo of his sister. These are so honored and cherished and he gave it to me…….
We hugged for what others said was forever and I looked through my teary eyes into his and said, “I promise, I will never relinquish this!” It’s been around 15 years and I still have her photo. My Guardian Angel. She reminds me of what unselfish love is. She reminds me to give my all because someone like her gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we may live.
My words to others who received the Gift of Life. Whether your donor was deceased or living like mine, they deserve the honor of you taking care of their gift. Of giving your all and practicing reciprocity. We are here because of their sacrifice so why do you not take care of yourself? Remember the gift and show thankfulness through your everyday actions.
And for those who have not received the gift of an organ transplant, you have received the gift of love, sacrifice, and honor from family members. It is your duty to take care of your health so that you will not be a burden to your children, your parents. Reciprocity is the second gift of love. Respect the gift by taking care of yourself and giving back to others that gave part of themself to you.