WAKE UP WISCONSIN (WAOW)-- Waiting for an organ donor is like traveling down a long road, with an unknown final destination.
My 20 year old cousin, Bill, is currently on the list for a new heart and kidney.
In the second part of our series, "A Heart Needs a Second Chance", we hear from Bill's mom, and one of his doctors, about what the experience is like.
Imagine waking up everyday and wondering... is today going to be the day you get a second chance at life?
Bill's Mom, Ann Coon, says, "... we're happy to have the opportunity.. but some other family is living our worst nightmare... I vowed to raise a child who's worthy of the gift of life... Bill loves life, lives every minute, lives for himself and his donor...and I'm proud of him for that."
Bill received his newborn transplant on the last possible day he was going to live, from a baby in Canada who passed away during childbirth. The selfless decision from the baby's father, has impacted our family in a way that's not able to be expressed with words.
In every family that's been blessed with this gift, it's always appreciated... and never taken for granted.
14:03 "...TYG...thank you God...everything he's done is a gift because he wasn't supposed to have that...we celebrate the donors birthday every year."
In Bill's case, because he needs a heart and kidney, the organs have to come from a deceased donor. Coming to terms with the fact that a person has to die, in order for him to live is difficult to deal with...but, knowing that person will live on and instill life in another, is the most amazing gift a person can give.
Ann says, "... when you donate you give a person a chance to reach what they're potential is."
Northwestern Memorial Hospital is the Top Heart Center in the Midwest, ideally patients receive transplants from four hours away."
While on the wait list, it's key for family and the patient not to lose hope, that's made possible through support from family and friends who make this challenging time less overwhelming.
My aunt writes daily email updates to a large network of people, her last email says, "...thank you for taking the time to write, email, phone, and text us...with your loving support-your kindness will forever be in our hearts. I will keep you posted as time and emotion permit..in the meantime, know how deeply we appreciate your support--it is the fuel that keeps us going... that keeps us from feeling alone."
Dr. William Cotts, one of Bill's physicians at Northwestern Memorial says, "...my hats go off to the patients and their families, they are the real heroes, this is a long process."
As far as advice for other families who have a loved one on the wait list...Ann says, "...believe and take one day at at time... and have faith...that life will prevail."