Leaving Was My Hardest Task
Leave. That was the hardest thing I did on the Day of Hope, Remembrance and Celebration. Even after just three hours of sleep, fueled only by a bag of Cheetos and some cookies, when my shift ended, I kept finding reasons to stay.
“Work” doesn’t seem like an accurate description of my day, because it didn’t feel like work. As I headed to get more green chair pins for the greeters, I stopped and met a donor family making a quilt square to honor their daughter. As I went to refill the coffee, I saw a familiar face and stopped to say hello, and as I was about to leave, I got to meet someone face-to-face whom I had already met via email. It was like being around friends, with errands in between.
I also had the unique opportunity to sit in the Donate Life Green Chair to share my dad’s story – he was an organ donor and saved five lives when he died in September of 1999. When Terri, our volunteer coordinator, and my office mate, asked me to share the eight o’clock hour with Stacy McKay, whose sister donated her kidney to their father, I instantly said yes. But in the back of my mind, I hesitated. In our line of work come stories of life, hope, and sometimes loss. They touch your heart, make you laugh, and make you cry. It’s hard for me to take the spotlight when I know each person has such an amazing, personal story of their own. I wondered how my story could make a difference amongst all the others.
I got my answer when my mom and uncle heard me speak. They said they didn’t realize what an impact donation has and how much it brings people together. And then I realized, my dad’s story is equally meaningful – it even impacts the people who already know it by heart.
So when my shift came to a close, it was hard to leave as I continued to think, “I’ll just stay for one more speaker,” or “I’ll go right after I complete this task.” Finally, I had to walk away from the tent and head to my car without looking back… until I got home and checked Lifeline of Ohio’s facebook page to get updates from the rest of the evening! It was an amazing day.
– Sara Brown, community education coordinator