By Makenzie Kelly, recipient daughter

Each semester, I welcome Lifeline of Ohio community educators into my classroom at Newark High School. The educators share the Donate Life message with my students and truly help them to understand organ donation so they can make an informed decision when they receive their learner’s permit. I’ve been proud of the relationship I’ve built with the community education team, but didn’t realize it fully until donation impacted my life.

Little did I know after helping share the message of donation in my classes for so many years, my dad, Fred, would need a kidney transplant to survive.

In 2013, my dad had blood work that came back abnormal from a neurologist appointment. We couldn’t believe it when he was, just a few days later, diagnosed with end-stage kidney failure. We were told he could do dialysis, but he would need a kidney transplant.

Dialysis disrupted his freedom and changed his emotional thoughts – he was now worried he would pass away. Fifteen years earlier he beat a brain tumor and this second medical emergency was worrisome for the whole family.

After more than two years of waiting on the national transplant waiting list and undergoing dialysis three times a week, he got “THE CALL!”  It was January 7, 2016 right after we celebrated my sister’s birthday when the phone rang. He cried. I cried. We all cried.

We were full of apprehension as we arrived at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center for the transplant, but we were also fully aware a family was grieving the loss of their loved one. I was so thankful my dad was receiving his second chance at life.

As a family, we whole-heartedly thank my dad’s heroic donor. This person gave our “Frapple” (the name given to him by his grandson) the ability at sixty-five years old to watch his grandkids grow.  He gets to see them dance, play ball and watch them run in his house on Christmas morning.  It is the best gift we could have ever received.

I continue to have Lifeline of Ohio into my classroom to educate my students. The message they spread has a profound impact on all who hears it. Won’t you consider registering to be a hero today?