Donor

I’ve received quite a few comments in relation to Stephanie being an organ donor. It has done me a lot of good to hear the impact that this has on people. Stephanie always said, “Well, why wouldn’t I donate them? It’s not like I need them anymore.” I always felt the same way. I found out that only 3% of people pass away in such a manner that they are able to donate their organs. I’ve mentioned it before, but this is typical for Stephanie – if there’s a small percentage of chance for something medically, Stephanie will fit into that percentage.

She was also a “full donor,” which is also rare. Because she was young and very healthy (sadly, not in the way we needed), she was able to donate virtually everything. What surprised us the most was her heart, which we were told was in better shape that probably everyone else in the room. That confuses me, as it was the halted beating of her heart that took her from me. Even her intestines were donated (along with her liver to one person, if I’m not mistaken), which I’m told is a difficult organ to find a donor.

Anyway, I’m so glad for being able to do this, even as gut-wrenching as it was to even be able to make that decision. I also feel for those people receiving organs, as they are no doubt aware how it is they are receiving them. I have to imagine that is a horrible position in which to be.

On a related note, a full class of neurology students were able to come into the ICU before Stephanie donated to get to learn from her. Stephanie and I both had our moments of students coming in to see our cases (I had extreme ingrown toenails and she had extreme allergies). Anyway, I know we were both always glad for that opportunity and Stephanie was very big on that type of thing. The LifeBanc representative knew my feelings on this, and I’m grateful she asked about it. I’m hoping to hear some helpful results from the autopsy, as well, maybe even something that will help other epilepsy patients and/or my kids.

8 thoughts on “Donor”

  1. God Bless her donating all of her organs!!! She is a hero in everyones eyes!!! When my brother passed away he donated and saved 4 lives. This is one thing that keeps me going. I am very involved in educating people about ogan donation. And am involved with the WONDERFUL people at Lifebanc. We even hang out with my brothers kidney and pancreas recipient as if he is part of our family!!! God bless you and your family!! And know that this is a wonderful descision that your wife made before her passing!! Heaven wants your soul and wants you to keep your organs down here :) God bless.

  2. God Bless her donating all of her organs!!! She is a hero in everyones eyes!!! When my brother passed away he donated and saved 4 lives. This is one thing that keeps me going. I am very involved in educating people about ogan donation. And am involved with the WONDERFUL people at Lifebanc. We even hang out with my brothers kidney and pancreas recipient as if he is part of our family!!! God bless you and your family!! And know that this is a wonderful descision that your wife made before her passing!! Heaven wants your soul and wants you to keep your organs down here :) God bless.

  3. I have followed your story and have yet to comment. First and foremost, I offer my condolences to you and your entire family. The true love you and Stephanie shared is very evident in your writing. And that is something very special.

    What has compelled me to write is this post. And your understanding for the need for epilepsy research. You see…I have a 6.5 year old who was adopted from China at 12 months of age. She was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 5. We are fortunate that she has been well controlled with medication. However, she did have one very prolonged seizure which landed her in the hospital for 3 days. Epilepsy is a scary disease. It truly is. There is not nearly enough research being done. And compared to other diseases and disorders, far too little funding goes towards epilepsy.

    So as a parent with a child who is living with epilepsy, I thank you for your ability to recognize that even during a time of intense grief, there is much need for further understanding of this monster called epilepsy.

  4. Thank you so much, Brad, for this post. When I got that 1st prayer request for Stephanie and your family, I had no idea how much God would use your tragedy to touch the lives of a simple family of 13. Because you shared, I prayed. Because you shared, I cried. Because you shared, I was scared both for you, and then for my family. Because you shared I had to face your reality–and then mine. Because you shared, I saw Jesus in the storm. Because you shared, I saw a beautiful wife and mother. Because you shared, I saw an incredibly tender husband’s love. Because you shared, and I have Stephanie’s Epilepsy (which she is now free of forever more, Hallelujah!)I was able to see things from ‘her’ perspective as’one who sleeps.’

    Because you shared. I was further inspired to grab on to each day as if it were my last ever single morning. To treasure it, to let my kiddos know how much I love them, how unbelievably precious they are to me. To just live life to the fullest…to not hold back for anything…to fondle every second, every moment every last breath.

    I also wrote down my end of life wishes–well actually I wrote them down as a comment in your blog. I haven’t actually written them down on paper yet. So please don’t erase the blog or the comments yet for a bit, please. Just for me, okay. I even went to A.C.Moore’s and bought a special piece of pretty pink paper for 29 cents to handwrite pretty much those comments verbatim. But, life being what it is with 11 children, I haven’t gotten to it yet, and I’m pretty sure that pretty piece of pink paper is bent and may even have a princess castle and ponies drawn on it now =).

    I also kept the promise to myself to start to blog again after over 3 years of silence. I used to blog a lot before my epilepsy started. I would write of all the funny and profound and ups and downs of raising, at the time up to 10 children. But after Hannah, our 11th little girl was born and the seizures started, I quit writing. Life was too scary. And there was no time. And we were too busy with Dr.’s and meds and trying to homeschool a houseful and keep everyone fed, healthy and happy. Anyway, a few days ago, Oct. 14th the day before my birthday, I started a new blog! Thanks to you and Stephanie. I plan to fill it with love for my Lord, my family, my friends, for the lost, recipes, knitting, sewing, pets, literature, fine music, sound teaching, everything that God has gifted to me. I want everyone to know what is in my heart so that ‘when I shall fall asleep’ I will know that they will know that they were deeply, deeply loved just as you and all the people who were touched by Stephanie’s life knew that they were deeply loved by her.

    Because you wrote I am going to make pre-previsions with LifeBanc to be an organ donor in the same way that Stephanie is. I want as many people as possible to benefit from this old shell ‘when I shall fall asleep’. These are the kinds of things that I have been too busy keeping all the plates spinning to even think about for even one second. Thank you for stopping me in my tracks. Thank you for letting God use you and your pain. Thank you for showing me that healing can come from sharing pain and not from just soldiering on and covering it up with a smile and saying that you’re “fine”. Which is what it feels like what everyone wants to hear anyway.

    You are so blessed to have all these wonderful people surrounding you in your life who love you and who are lifting your arms up as you walk through this valley. But please know that when the tent stakes are pulled up and the dust settles, I and I suspect many others will still be there praying for you and living differently because you allowed God to enter into your world and share it with others.

    Brad, I don’t know if you are EVER going to read this…or if you do, for a very long time. Some one, a family member, a friend, skimming for encouraging words for Brad???? Please let him hear this:
    Because of his and Stephanie’s lives, The lives of 11 unbelievably incredible children who have a mommy with epilepsy will never be the same again. Nothing else matters anymore to her. Nothing! Never really has anyway :) I love them forever. I love them for always. As long as I’m living, my babies, they’ll be <3

    Humbly,
    Lisa mommy of 11

    1. Lisa, I enjoyed reading your comment to Brad and am glad that you have returned to writing your blog because you are a writer! Thank you for sharing, too, how Brad & Stephanie’s story has changed you and your family.

  5. Brad…..I can only guess how difficult it was to donate so many of Stephanie’s organs. Even though she made her wishes known, I know the final decision lay with you. Thank you for caring about others at such a time. When my husband passed suddenly this August, I got the call from LifeBanc that evening. He had made it known to me those were his wishes and it was on his license also. Even then, I wondered if it was the right thing to do. I am so glad I went with what he wanted. I have received letters letting me know who he helped and even though I miss him every waking moment, it is a blessing to know he helped so many.

  6. I am so glad that Stephanie’s organs will be saving lives – I know it’s what she would have wanted from our conversations, and from the way she was always so giving to others. Benjamin’s uncle passed away at the age of 38 while waiting for a heart and lung transplant, and organ donation is an issue that is very near and dear to our hearts. We will include those who received Stephanie’s organs in our prayers, along with their families.

  7. Brad, my husband received a heart transplant nearly 5 years ago and is doing well, praise God. So I know how the families feel whose loved one is alive today because you shared Stephanie’s organs. In addition to that blessing, we are now ‘family’ with the donor’s wife, parents and siblings, too. Steven is the name of our donor. Steven’s mother tells us that she thinks of him all the time and then she thinks of Vernon, my husband, and is comforted. Perhaps you cannot imagine it now, but if you have the opportunity to be in contact with and eventually meet recipients of Stephanie’s organs, I encourage you to go for it! I worked with Scott @ CCC before he married Sarah, so that is how I heard about Stephanie when she was taken to the hospital. I’ve been praying. Thank you for writing to all of us!

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