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Recipient Stories

“Some Day” Had Come

A motorcycle accident in 1977 and the necessary transfusions had affected me but did not became apparent how much so until 13 years later. I began to experience severe internal bleeding and was treated until 1996 when my regular physician said my blood work indicated “some day” had come.

Jim Wirth

Debbie and I had been married 22 years at that point and our children, Mike, 21 and Ellyn, 18 became my biggest source of strength for the stressful journey that lay ahead. They accompanied me to the pre-transplant sessions but I could tell they were worried. I became increasingly tired, lost weight and experienced fevers and other related hepatitis symptoms. People didn’t tell me, but I looked terrible.

I didn’t feel like going to work but I thought once I got there maybe I could forget about my illness. Every news story and article cited the shortage of donors and I began to worry that I might become a statistic-someone who had died while waiting for the precious gift of life.

Then on September 7 1998, Labor Day, the call came. We jumped out of bed and headed to the hospital. I was scared, happy and sad all at the same time. Scared because of what lie ahead, happy that I was going to have the chance to see my children graduate and share our 25th wedding anniversary and sad that somewhere, a loved one had been lost.

After being prepped for the surgery for what seemed like the entire day, I was ready to be wheeled into the operating room. My family was in tears but I felt everything was going to be okay. Surgery went well and thanks to the wonderful teamwork of everyone at the hospital I went home after seven days and back to work in seven weeks.

It was six weeks later when I received a forwarded letter from LOOP from the donor’s mother. She explained the decision made by the family to share the gift of life was made easier because her son told her that was his wish. She could even picture the conversation so she felt she was granting his wish. I wrote back wanting her to know that the memory of her son would always live with us and that I would share the family’s story with everyone who would listen.

I will never be able to repay this wonderful family for their courageous and generous gift. I can only say “Thank You” to them and the others that work so hard to bring the gift of life to those who are in need. We will forever keep you in our thoughts and prayers!

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