On Monday, Derek and I received an email from the New England Organ Bank with a last minute request. Would Derek be able to visit a driver’s ed class in Nashua, share his story and talk to the kids about organ donation? He agreed and I agreed to go along as moral support. Last night we watched a video with the 15 and 16 year olds that provided a very informative introduction to what it means to be an organ donor. Derek watched the video beforehand, but I did not. As a result I managed to get pretty choked up watching it. The video ended and Derek stood up to tell his story, and then stopped talking. Turns out the first time you tell your story to a group of teenagers is harder than it seems! That’s why we’re a team. I told them that this was the first time for both of us telling our story to a group and that it was a little emotional for both of us. I took a deep breath and began telling the tale.
As the story progressed, Derek recovered and we took turns filling in the details of our experience. When we finished, we told the students they could ask us ANY questions they could come up with. Here are a few:
- Do you guys have any restrictions for what you can eat?
- Did you drive Derek to the hospital?
- Does Derek have a different outlook on life?
- Before the surgery, was there anything that Derek wished he had done?
- If I decide to be an organ donor can I change my mind later?
- Can you buy an organ?
- How old are you?
- How did you know you were sick?
- Are there certain blood types that need organs more than others?
- Do you have to have the same blood type as the donor?
It was a great experience and the driver’s ed instructor seemed genuinely grateful that we told our story; he said it was truly eye opening. Sometimes Derek and I forget that not everyone knows about organ donation, or how amazing it is to be an organ donor. We both hope we get many more chances to speak to people about our experience and how grateful we are for organ donors.