Hope, Remembrance, and Celebration — concepts that I have experienced separately, but not all at the same time. This changed on April 2, 2011 in a tent full of friends, colleagues, and total strangers.
When I was told that Lifeline of Ohio would be hosting a 24-hour event, I was completely overwhelmed. “How could our small staff pull off such a huge event,” I wondered. The details started coming together in the months leading up to April, and I learned that each hour would be different, but certainly special.
Everyone had very important roles during “A Day of Hope, Remembrance and Celebration.” Some of the volunteers chased after the run-away cards that were hung on the Donor Memorial wall when a storm blew through; and others shared the most precious stories with people they hardly knew. My role during our 24-hour event was to help wherever I could, and to support our staff and volunteers.
I was approached by a speaker that morning and she asked me to cue up the Ohio State fight song on a CD, because she was planning on having a very special guest during her hour—Brutus Buckeye. I was super excited to be helping out with such a fun piece of the day, but it was 15 minutes until she was scheduled to be in the chair and Brutus was nowhere to be found!
I assured her that even if Brutus didn’t show up, we would make her hour special however we had to. She began telling her story, and still, no Brutus. I was thinking of the many ways that I would make that silly nut pay for not showing up during such an amazing day. About 10 seconds later, as our volunteer started talking about her son’s love for Brutus Buckeye, I heard gasps to my right and left and turned to see that Brutus walked into the tent at the perfect time. He was there to ignite the crowd for Jonah, who died waiting for his second heart transplant in April 2010.
It felt like a scene from a movie. In that moment I truly felt all of the words that we used to describe the day. We filled the chair with hope in our hearts that someday no person will die waiting for a lifesaving transplant. We shared stories of our loved ones that we remember each day and hold on so dearly to their memory. We celebrated the lifesaving power that organ and tissue transplantation gives.
The day was full of hope, remembrance, and celebration and I consider myself to be so lucky to have felt all of those wonderful things all at once.
- Anna McGuire, Communications Assistant