By Kathy Lyons, Donor Mom
My daughter Maggie (we called her Mags) was so very loved. She loved unconditionally, loved to give hugs and had the sweetest little smile. She loved without ever saying a word.
When Mags was fourteen-months old, she began to have seizures. Her seizures were never long, but instead came in clusters. For years, we went from doctor to doctor who could never give us an explanation, or diagnosis, as to what was happening with our baby.
Thankfully, we were able to get the seizures under control, and for nearly two years she was seizure free. Then right around age five they came back and never left.
When she was ten we finally received a diagnosis – Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. This syndrome is a type of epilepsy with multiple different types of seizures. Intellectual development is usually, but not always, impaired. In Mags’ case, she had been non-verbal her whole life.
We felt relief to have a diagnosis and to know what we were dealing with. I’ve always been my daughter’s voice and advocate and with the diagnosis in hand, we could move forward with knowledge.
Fast forward to Friday, November 18, 2016, Mags was 16. We had just gotten back from a neurologist appointment where everything checked out fine. Mags went to bed, as she did any other night. The next morning after my husband and I woke, she still wasn’t up. When I went in to check on her, I found my sweet girl laying unresponsive. In a panic, I performed CPR while we waited for the paramedics to arrive.
Unfortunately, our sweet girl’s life ended on November 19 from SUDEP – sudden unexpected death in epilepsy. At the hospital, I requested Mags to be a donor. Our whole family was already registered, my husband and I and our two other children. Our wish was granted and Mags went on to give the gifts of sight and healing through tissue donation.
Weeks after Mags passed, we received a letter that informed us her corneas went to New Zealand and two people were now seeing because of her! With the donation of her tissues, we also know that more than 50 people will benefit from her. She was given this opportunity to make a difference in this world and has she ever!
We believe Mags was given to us for a reason. One of the reasons is to advocate for organ, eye and tissue donation. Our family is carrying on Mags’ love by telling others about her gifts. Organ donation is such a beautiful gift, won’t you consider registering today?