By Gary Balser, donor dad
In January of 2000, my vibrant, blonde, fun-loving 11-year-old daughter was admitted to Children’s Hospital. Doctors were puzzled, and had a very hard time diagnosing her illness. She took everything so valiantly, and never ever complained, she just would ask “how long would it take?”
Day after day for four weeks, I would spend my hours talking to doctors about my daughter’s condition, some days were great and others not so good. The rare blood disease Thrombotic Thromboycytopenic Purpura (TTP) had taken over her blood cells, and it did not want to leave. She spent her twelfth birthday in ICU. Hours of aphresis with over 45 treatments, and then chemotherapy would not get it to leave.
After telling us that her condition was getting better, the disease counteracted sending three blood clots to her brain. My family and I stood by her bed for five days while she was in a coma. On February 11, 2000 my beautiful 12-year-old daughter was pronounced brain dead. My entire body went numb; I was sick, and devastated. I thought to myself that this couldn’t be real. Tragically, it was.
Britt was such a beautiful girl inside who loved everyone that she met. I knew that she would want her organs donated to save other people. The Lifeline of Ohio representative was wonderful, explaining the whole procedure as we cried. Our daughter would be helping others after she left this life, and in some way that helped us deal with her loss.
I came back to the hospital right before the surgeons flew in from out of state to say my final “goodbye” to the most courageous person that I will ever know in my life, my daughter.
After the loss of my daughter to the rare blood disease, I have started a foundation to raise funds to battle the disease. The foundation is called the Britt Balser Foundation for TTP. We hope to raise funds for further research and awareness of this deadly illness and save as many lives as we possibly can. We also promote Lifeline of Ohio at the benefit concerts that we produce.
The knowledge that my young daughter, who now resides in Heaven, saved four lives gives me an inner peace about losing her, knowing that those people thank her everyday for their second chance at life. Brittany not only lives on in hearts of those who knew her, but she enables others to live now.