Category Archives: Inspiration

Mom loses Two Sons, Helps Save Lives of Others.


mothers-love

By Bob Aronson

This is a story about a remarkable woman, her family and her incredible spirit. It is a story that has no ending because it is still unfolding. It is a story that is guaranteed to make you

claire-selfie

Claire

experience every possible emotion. It is the story of Claire Connelly of San Diego, California. A divorced mom of three — Sara, Pete and Paul Neves. Even her name has a story. When she was divorced she took her original name Connelly back because so many who held the name had died and she wanted to extend its life. That’s Claire, she is all about life and living.

My first contact with her was by email where she goes by the name “Pete’s mom RIP.” That alone tells you a little about her and about a son who is no longer with us. But that’s only a fraction of the full story, a story that is bound to make you smile, cry and then smile again. It was a difficult story to write because there is so much to tell and so little space in which to do it.

“The Agony and the Ecstasy” was a 1965 film about the great artist Michelangelo. That title came immediately to mind after speaking with Claire for the first time. She has gone through incredible agony and it lives on, but her actions have also allowed her and others some ecstasy, much of which is still to be experienced.

I’ve only had email, text and phone contact with Claire, but it is easy to see that she is a vibrant, fun, upbeat woman who loves life, but has suffered losses few could survive and maintain their sanity. Most importantly, Claire Connelly has given life in more ways than one. She is an absolutely remarkable woman who willingly shares her story so that others may benefit. Prior to our interview Claire warned me, “I’m a crier,” she said. After the interview my tears flowed with hers.

Pete was Claire’s middle child. She speaks of him with intense love and pride. He was a model child, neat, organized and truly gifted. When we talked

claire-and-her-bosys-high-quality

Pete & Claire. Paul in back.

she described the young boy who would select what he wanted to wear to school before he went to bed at night. As he grew up he decided that his life’s goal was to become a U.S. Army Ranger.

The U.S. Army Rangers are a very tough outfit. Few who apply for Ranger

framed-picture-of-pete

Ranger Pete

training make it through the program that’s been called the “toughest combat course in the United States.” Pete made it through with flying colors and got into Special Forces, but a back injury ended his career. Disappointed, but still wanting to stay in the Army Ranger Family and connect with other Rangers he returned home and started a U.S. Army Ranger website where he sold Ranger T-shirts, caps and other items.

When the second Iraq War started Pete signed up as a contract soldier, his Ranger instincts were still alive and he wanted to help, but despite his excellent physical condition he found himself weakening. He could no longer make long marches or sustain extended

pete-very-thin

Pete fighting cancer

periods of physical activity. Something was wrong. He returned to the U.S. and was diagnosed with fourth-stage Medullary thyroid cancer. Pete was treated at the M.D. Anderson cancer center, but without success and his condition slowly worsened.  Claire, in tears when she talks about his hospitalization and upbeat attitude said, “The worst thing he could say was, “Mom, I’m not having a good day.” He never complained, he soldiered on. He was in the battle of and for his life, but the odds were just too great and Pete succumbed on October 13, 2008 at the age of 46 leaving a wife and daughter behind. Claire remembers Pete every minute of every day. Thoughout her home she has Pete memorabilia and each year on the anniversary of his death she finds a new way to honor him, like going to the beach and tossing something into the ocean for him.

Needless to say Pete’s passing was a devastating blow for Claire, but she’s a strong woman
and let her memories of Pete sustain her. Claire went on with her life, but never forgetting October 13. As the years passed she mourned, but enjoyed contact with her peteremaining children Paul and Sara. Then on an otherwise happy day, Claire got the phone call no parent ever wants to receive. “Come to Sacramento right away,” said a hospital nurse who explained that Paul had suffered a massive stroke. He was found on the sidewalk by his house unconscious. It was estimated he had been there for three hours or more before he was discovered and now a web of wires and tubing connected him to the technology that kept his heart beating and his lungs working. Claire remembers that phone conversation as though it took place an hour ago, “When I got the call that my other son, Paul, was on life support and could I please come up to Sacramento to sign the necessary papers for his organ donations, I put the phone down and let out screams I didn’t know I had inside of me.”

While he was rushed to the hospital there was nothing that could be done; the time between the stroke and his being found was just too long.  Claire hurried to be near her son, her “Baby” as she called him.

When Claire arrived at the hospital she was told that Paul showed no brain activity. He was what is commonly known as “brain dead.” Shortly after she was approached by the Organ paul-on-life-supportProcurement Organization and told that Paul’s driver’s license indicated he was an organ donor. Claire, also an organ donor, immediately agreed to honor Paul’s wishes. She was informed that he was in such good physical condition that all organs that were transplantable could be donated, but first they had to find recipients. That meant Paul would be kept on life support for several more days. Days in which Claire sat and stared at her immobilized son, tubes and wires still attached still breathing and warm to the touch of a mother’s hand.

Finally she was told that recipients had been found and it was time to take Paul off of life support. There cannot be a more terrifying moment for a parent, than to be called upon to end the life of an offspring. What pained her most is that they never got to say goodbye. “When Pete died,” she said, “it was terribly sad but we had a lot of time to talk and say goodbye. With Paul it was so sudden, “I never got to say goodbye,” she sobbed. But the worst part of the story is that Paul’s passing on October 13, 2013 was exactly five years to the day after Pete who died October 13, 2008.

Claire is still stunned by the fact that her two boys died exactly five years apart and she still grieves. Parents are not supposed to outlive their children, but there is a bright spot in this story and it is the lives saved by the donation of Paul’s heart, liver, lungs and kidneys.

For a while after Paul’s passing Claire waited to see if she would be contacted by recipients of Paul’s organs, but nothing came so Claire being Claire, decided to write to them. Her letters were passed on by the local Organ Procurement Organization (OPO). Here’s what she wrote.

October 16, 2013

“Dear Recipient,

Please know that your recent gift of an organ came from my son who died suddenly, leaving all of Man in dark night, face lit by blank white LCD laptop display lightus bereft, were it not for his generosity in wanting to be an organ donor at the end of his life, which we all hoped would be many years down the road, at least well after mine.  The last thing he wanted was to be hooked up to any machine, but that is exactly what happened.  We feel that because that was necessary to keep his organs going to fulfill his wish of organ donation, he would have approved being monitored by banks of machines, and being poked and prodded endlessly for three days in order for that to happen.

He was a give-you-the-shirt-off-his-back kind of guy who loved the great outdoors, loved to fish, camp and ride his wave runner, and was thrilled at the sight of any wildlife, be it raccoon, elk, mountain lion or bear.  He loved Yellowstone National Park best of all.  He cherished life and we are comforted by the fact that parts of him will live on and our prayer is that you take good care of and appreciate what you have been given – a central piece of him – his ultimate gift.  The fact that he was able to donate so many of his organs speaks to the fact that our family is blessed with good genes and we hope and pray that your new organ will serve you well, with every beat of his heart and every breath that you take, and that you think kindly of him from time to time.  I can assure you that he, as well as you, are in our thoughts and prayers every day.

Perhaps one day we can share our thoughts in person, if you are willing.  Our family is hoping for that possibility and look forward to the day when that can happen.

The mother of the donor.

Again she waited. Months went by and then one day, a letter arrived (edited to protect the identity of the recipient).

Dear Mother of the donor,

Your heartfelt letter was received at a perfect time of my life.  Before I continue any further allow me express my sincere thank you to the mother and family of my heart donor. I would also like to thank the young man who is responsible for my being alive today. 

thaank-youIt is because of you and of course your loving son that I am alive. Please know that each time I feel my heart beat I think of your son. It is amazing to me that your son (my donor) and I have so much in common. I was blessed with receiving a new heart. I will never take that for granted.  Please be assured that I am taking very good care of myself and that I am getting emotionally and physically stronger and stronger as each day passes. I look forward to meeting with you one day and am overwhelmed with the thought of that meeting.

God bless you and I’m looking forward to talking with you soon.”  

The recipient has asked that his identity not be revealed.

Claire is excited as well because the meeting date has been set for December 12, not long from now. While it is not unusual for donor families to go public with their stories, it is also not common, but Claire Connelly is not your average person. I asked her why shedonor-certificateagreed to an interview and to have me publish a blog. Here’s what she said.

“My purpose in telling my story, and I believe I am speaking not only for myself but for other donor families as well, is to convince even one organ recipient to take a moment out of their busy day to send a word of thanks to the donor family.  If I can do that, then this effort would have been worthwhile.

For the organ recipients who feel they don’t want to remind the donor families of their loss, my wish is that they begin thinking of it in a new way.  Most donor families are ALREADY still feeling that loss, and it might give them some comfort to know that their loved ones hearts are still beating, or their eyes are still taking in the wonders of this world, or their lungs are being appreciated with every breath you take.

From this donor mother’s perspective, perhaps they are wondering why the gift of life that their family member provided has not moved the recipient enough to say thank you and to let that donor family know that you appreciate the generosity it took for their loved one to sign that donor card to leave their organs in such a profound way to total strangers.  They are left to wonder if you truly appreciate the generosity it took for that family to agree to a procedure with which they may not depositphotos_27524217-lovely-retired-elderly-couple-havingtotally agree, and to go to the hospital every day to keep a vigil for the brain-dead body of their family member, while potential organ recipients are researched, measured, weighed, matched up, scrutinized and finally, all scheduled to be prepped for the exact same moment.  While it was heart-wrenching to see my son for the last time as he was wheeled out of his room to the O.R. just down the hall for the recovery of his organs, it was so rewarding to hear directly from his heart recipient how much he appreciated the gift and to hear to what lengths he goes to protect it, to take care of it, to monitor it, to faithfully keep his checkup appointments, etc.  I can only say it did this mother’s heart good to KNOW FOR SURE that Paul’s heart beats on, is appreciated, and cared for.

Paul’s heart recipient and I have agreed and are looking forward to meeting in person on December 12 when he can thank me in person and I can feel and hear Paul’s heart beating within his recipient’s chest.  We have already shared photos and he calls me, “Mom.” I don’t want him to think of Paul as “some dead guy”, but as the generous fabulous person he was.  Toward that end, there are things of Paul’s that I want to give to him, and things about Paul that I want to tell him.  Nobody, except another donor family member, could even begin to imagine what this experience will be like.  Will it be emotional?  Certainly.  Would I miss it for the world?  Not a chance.  The willingness of his heart recipient to contact me is what will make this possible.  While it won’t bring Paul back, it will go a LONG LONG WAY to give me the peace of mind in knowing what a difference he has been able to make in this man’s life and that he appreciates it each and every day and that he is taking every measure and precaution with Paul’s heart.  And THAT does this mother’s heart good

While I have not heard from the recipients of Paul’s two lungs, two kidneys, nor liver, I still wonder about them, but that is outweighed by knowing, at least, that his heart is still beating within this kind man’s chest and who cared enough to write a thank you letter.”

Claire Connelly is a unique person who told this story to help others. I know she’d like to hear your thoughts and you can send them to her through my email address bob@baronson.org and I will pass them on.

And one more thing. If you are an organ donor, that’s great. If you aren’t, register at donatelife dot net and get your family and friends to do the same.

Dr. Seuss said it best, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

Thank you Claire and most of all, thank you Paul for your gifts of life.

bob 2*Note. Bob Aronson the author of this blog is a 2007 heart transplant recipient. He is the founder of Facebook’s Organ Transplant Initiative a donor/recipient/caregiver/donor family and friends support group of well over 4,000 members.

Check the index on this blog for other posts that may be of interest to you, there are nearly 300 of them on almost as many topics related to transplantation/donation issues.

 

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Prayer — Does It Work to Help Cure Illness?



“There is a mighty lot of difference
between saying prayers and praying.”

John G. Lake

 

tweety cartoonLet me start by saying that this is a “Think” piece.  What you are about to read are the conclusions I drew from the research I had time to conduct.  Another writer given the same amount of time and resources might have a different view.

I am penning this post so that the prayerful, sometimes prayerful, the skeptics and the cynics have a better understanding of the subject and of each other.

It is important to point out from the very beginning that with rare exception most religious organizations recommendscience religion prayer as a supplement to medical care.  Some, though, go much further: According to Religious Tolerance dot org   (http://www.religioustolerance.org/medical2.htm) they either:

  • Teach that certain medical procedures are not allowed, or
  • Recommend that members generally reject medical attention in favor of prayer.

Two of these groups are Christian Science and the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

We at Bob’s Newheart prefer the mainstream approach that allows for and encourages getting medical help when it is needed.  There is more than an adequate amount of scientific evidence to support the claim that medical intervention is more beneficial than prayer alone.

According to the New York Times about 300 children have died in the United States in the last 25 years after medical care was withheld on religious grounds.  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/21/us/21faith.html?_r=0

The courts often hear cases of medical treatment for children being withheld due to religious objections.  In the vast majority of those cases they have ruled in favor of treatment and against prayer being used as the only remedy.   We will return to this topic later.

Does prayer work?  That depends on what you mean by “work.”  If you are asking about the curative power of prayer well, there is a mixed bag of evidence on that one,  I was told once that if you torture Google long enough you can get it to c confess to anything  I believe that.  You can probably find just as much proof that prayer works as you can that it doesn’t.  There is an area, though, where we do know that it does offer some benefits to those who are doing the praying.  Not long ago researchers from Baylor University found that people who pray to a loving and protective God are less likely to experience anxiety-related disorders — worry, fear, self-consciousness, social anxiety and obsessive compulsive behavior — compared to people who pray but don’t really expect to receive any comfort or protection from God.

baylor universityOn the other hand, the same Baylor University research found that people who have more insecure attachments to a supreme being react differently.  If they feel rejected or that their prayers have gone unanswered they can suffer severe symptoms of anxiety and/or depression.  So does prayer work?  Yes, but perhaps not in the manner you might suspect.  Prayer and/or meditation can have a profound effect on your state of mind.  You can read more about the psychological effects of prayer here at Spirituality and Health.  http://tinyurl.com/ngntzva.

The real question, though, or the one most people are asking is, “Will prayer cure disease, save dying people, or bring me whatever I’m asking for?  To be even more precise the question might finally be boiled down to, “Do prayers get answered.”

Science and religion are often at odds on a number of topics but perhaps that’s because neither is very tolerant of or patient with the other.  The fact of the matter is that when put to scientific scrutiny some studies have clearly indicated that prayer can be a medical tool.

Psychologists tell us that there are three kinds of prayer, 1) egocentric prayer is when we pray for ourselves, 2) ethnocentric prayer is when you pray for another person and 3) geocentric prayer is when you pray for everyone.

A study of about 150 cardiac patients at the Duke University Medical Center included a sub-group who received duke universityethnocentric prayer had the highest treatment success rate within the entire group. This was a legitimate study, too.  It was double blind which means that neither the researchers nor the patients benefiting from the prayers knew who was on the receiving end.  The results were similar in another legitimate scientific double-blind study that was done at San Francisco General Hospital’s Coronary Care Unit.  The “prayed for patients” showed a greatly diminished need for critical care, maintenance medications and heroic measures.  There were also fewer deaths.  All of that suggests somehow, something intervened.  Just exactly what that variable might be is unclear but there most definitely was a connection.

The great difficulty in researching the topic is that there are so many different points of view and they all claim to be the most accurate source.  I decided to use information from those who most clearly communicated their thoughts to me regardless of religious, philosophical or political designation. So, let me begin.

It seems to me there are five groups of people.

  1. Those who strongly believe in the power of prayer and are devout in their religious convictions. They are often unshakeable even when it appears to others that their prayers have been rejected.
  2. Those who pray only in emergencies or when they really want or need something.
  3. Those who pray, but only because they are afraid not to pray. They hope some good will come of their efforts. I’ve known many who pray because they were taught to do so and don’t know what else to do even though they are doubt the effectiveness of the practice.
  4. Those who are ambivalent or skeptical. They tolerate prayer but don’t engage in it themselves
  5. Those who are more cynical and for the most part reject prayer and religion as an exercise in futility and a waste of time.

man prayingWhy do people pray?  When you Google the question, “What is
faith?” you have a choice of 801,000,000 results.  Eight hundred million.  Obviously I did not read but a tiny fraction of them but I did look at a few. The definitions I selected had seemed to best characterize the people I know who appear to be of great faith.  There is a very fine line to walk between religion and faith but I’ll attempt the balancing act anyway. .

What is faith?

One site tells us, “…..faith is such a powerful gift from Godfaith that with just a tiny measure of it, the size of a mustard seed, you can move mountains.”

Still another definition is, “Faith is a sacred, deep, emotionally involved kind of trust that a power greater than you can change anything.  Faith requires a trust in your belief that consumes your whole being. “

And finally, “Some argue that faith is a decision. Others understand it to be a gift. Many have never known their life without it, while others can point to a particular moment when faith became a part of their experience.  No matter, faith is simply a strong belief that a greater power exists and is in charge of everything.” Somewhere in one of those three definitions you may find a kernel of the element of your faith or lack of it.

If you have “Faith” you probably pray and that’s a word that also needs defining.  What constitutes prayer?  One definition says, “Prayer includes respect, love, pleading and faith. Through a prayer a devotee expresses his helplessness and endows the task to God. Prayer, it seems, is a very personal way for an individual to communicate with his or her God. In most cases people who pray are asking for something either for themselves or for others.  Some believe they always get answers to their prayers and that they actually talk with God and hear his responses.  Others pray and hope they are heard.  People have different experiences with prayer some good and some bad.

Are Prayers Answered?

huffington post
The Huffington Post is certainly not highly regarded for their expertise in prayer but some of the writers have interesting thoughts.  For example, in story from May of 2012 with the headline,” Prayer: What Does The Science Say? The post notes that an overwhelming 83 percent of Americans say that God answers prayers, but their reaction is a gut feeling and there’s little or no scientific validation offered.  Two researchers with opposing positions on the issue have written interesting books to explain their views.  If you are interested in learning more on either or both let me refer you to  Tanya Marie Luhrmann, an anthropologist at Stanford and author of the book “When God Talks Back” and Michael Shermer, executive director of the Skeptics Society and author of “The Believing Brain.”

 

One thing is clear.  Religion and prayer appear to be inseparable. If you engage in prayer or some kind of communion with a higher power it likely was heavily influenced by your experience and/or exposure to religion, but the water gets a little murky there because according to the Pew Foundation more than one-quarter of American adults (28%) have left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another religion – or no religion at all. If change in affiliation from one type of Protestantism to another is included, 44% of adults have either switched religious affiliation, moved from being unaffiliated with any religion to being affiliated with a particular faith, or dropped any connection to a specific religious tradition altogether.

When it comes to the effectiveness of prayer, there are as many answers as there are people. Most of the answers, though, are based on anecdotal rather than scientifically based evidence.

There are those who believe deeply that prayer brings results and therefore comfort and there are others who have no faith in faith and care even less for religion whether organized or not.

One can probably assume that many if not a majority of prayers have to do with health and longevity and our health care system has deep faith based roots that are made obvioublood transfusions with every hospital admission. Patients are almost always asked for religious preference so if an emergency arises the institution can satisfy the patient’s needs in that area.

People of faith are willing to accept a negative prayer response more than those without faith by saying, “Well, that’s the will of God.”

at the same time, though, a cynic might ask, “If prayers work, why do so many prayerful, religious people die horrible deaths?  Prayer vigils are organized often for sick people and they die anyway,” say the disbelievers.

I guess the answer depends on who you ask. The atheist would say, “No. Prayer can’t work because there is no God.”  For them it is a cut and dried issue.

The answer from agnostics might be a little more complex.  That particular group is more likely to equivocate because they claim neither faith nor disbelief in God.

One could site any one of a number of biblical passages regarding prayer.  Here are just a few:

John 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, askholy bible whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Most of the major religions, as pointed out earlier, believe a combination of prayer and medical science is the answer to most health issues.  Some take a harder line than others.

Shortly after my heart transplant in 2007 I started this blog and a Facebook group, Organ Transplant Initiative (OTI), which now has nearly 4200 members.  Recently I asked members to give me examples of how prayers worked or didn’t work for them.

Jon Claflin (He requested that he be identified) sent these words to me.

confusedEver since I was a child, prayer has confused me. Raised a Christian, I was taught that God has a plan and that He knows all. These two concepts run counter to me interfering with this plan by praying and asking God to make an exception or allow for a different outcome. Of course this is impossible as God knows the outcome anyway.

As an adult, my views on the futility of prayer only increased. As a student of logic and skepticism, I realized that prayer is an unfalsifiable concept as no matter what transpires, the believer can claim that prayer worked. If the promotion at work didn’t come through or their aunt died, they can simply claim that this was God’s will. And if their aunt survived or the promotion came through, then (again) prayer did its job.

This is all the personal belief of the individual turning to prayer and I wouldn’t seek to change this, but when prayer is artificially elevated the level of a legitimate healthcare choice, I do take issue. Heart failure is a serious life or death situation and inserting superstition or talking to invisible deities into this predicament as an alternative to medicine is extremely dangerous, and choosing prayer over evidence-based medicine is deadly. Until prayer can stand up to the rigorous double-blinded testing that medical therapies do, I opt for medical intervention over prayer.”

Other members had a different perspective and this letter is pretty typical of the kind of responses I got. She believes her prayers were answered.  Who are we to say she is wrong?

God“Almost a year ago now my son had been on PD for 16 months and was feeling sicker by the day. Also, he had developed a hernia most likely FROM PD and we were told he’d have to go on hemodialysis until after he had hernia surgery & had completely healed. I was so heartbroken for him that I went to bed that night desperate – praying & crying till I fell asleep, begging God to just show me what more I could do to help him. I woke up the next morning with the idea to make a Facebook page to find a living kidney donor. I just KNOW that’s what God TOLD me to do. A young man who was a former co-worker of my OTHER son’s emailed me & said he’d be willing to test, and in May it will be the 1 year anniversary of my son’s transplant. His donor has become a member of the family!! He is truly my boy’s miracle!! I love to tell this story!”

That story was told with conviction and with love and while some readers may want to dismiss her contention that God told her what to do, why would they?  To what end?  Why bother?  If she is happy with the outcome it shouldn’t be anyone’s business what she believes.

Of all the responses I got to my Facebook query, no one suggested that prayer alone would solve medical problems.

From what I have been able to gather, a combination of prayer and medical science certainly can’t hurt and it just may be of some help.  A story in the Underground Health Reporter said: “Not only can effects of prayer be an important curative tool in times of crisis, but it can also promote a sustained state of well-being. A fascinating study conducted by researchers from the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond analyzed the lives of 1,902 sets of twins.

It turned out that twins committed to spiritual lives tended to have lower rates of:

  • Depression
    • Addiction
    • Divorce

The Richmond study indicated that active involvement in a spiritual community is strongly linked to overall stability and health.

This is Your Brain on God

Most extraordinary of all is the way prayer has been shown to produce physical changes in the brain. Barbara Bradley Hagerty put together a 5-part NPR series called, “Is This Your Brain on God?” In the series, Hagerty explores a possible reason that prayer has such restorative and preventative potential. That is, scientists can see noticeable differences between the brains of those who pray or meditate often and those who don’t.

One scientist in particular had published astonishing findings. His name is Andrew Newberg, and he’s a practicing neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania and author of How God Changes Your Brain. Newberg has been scanning the brains of people with religious convictions for more than 10 years. He says meditation in particular has a very visible effect on the brain’s frontal lobe. He believes that the neurological effects of prayer and meditation can be long-lasting. Read more: http://undergroundhealthreporter.com/effects-of-prayer-can-lead-to-healing/#ixzz3RGrtNsjB

So that’s my report on prayer.  I came away with this thought.  If I or someone I love has a very serious disease I will do two things.  I likely will say a prayer or two and then find the best medical team money can buy.  Maybe….just maybe the medical team is the answer to   a prayer.

 

All I know is that when I pray, coincidences happen; and when I don’t pray, they don’t happen.”

Dan Hayes

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All the views

Thank you donors and donor families

Bob Aronson of Bob’s Newheart is a 2007 heart transplant recipient, the founder of Facebook’s over 4,000 member Organ Transplant Initiative (OTI) and the author of most of these donation/transplantation blogs. You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at bob@baronson.org. And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.  You can register to be a donor a thttp://www.donatelife.net.  It only takes a few minutes.

Do You Believe In Miracles — Medical Miracles?


 Introduction by Bob Aronson

blackboard cartoon

Since Bob’s Newheart began publishing on WordPress over seven years ago, we have tried to offer encouragement, sound medical information, choices for healthy living,  news of what’s to come and  as much inspiration as possible for those who suffer from debilitating diseases.   As a heart transplant recipient I know what its like to feel desperate and without hope.  I also know there is always hope,  always.

Dr. Priscilla Diffie-Couch and her sister Dawn Anita Plumlee have been contributors to our inspiration series in the past.  Today Dr. Diffie-Couch returns with the amazing story of how she suvived what could have been — what should have been–
a deadly cancer. 

MY PERSONAL MEDICAL MIRACLE

Priscilla Diffie-Couch ED.D.

Friday morning I awake relieved.  My doctor has pronounced my ulcer completely healed.  I return from my errands humming happily and stop to check my message machine.  Why has my doctor’s office tried three times to reach me?  I already know the good news.  Now I have my doctor on the phone and listen to his strange tight voice. phone answering machine

“We need to repeat your biopsy.  I’m afraid it looks suspicious.”

“Suspicious?”  Characters in murder mysteries look suspicious.  People lurking in dark alleys look suspicious.  My biopsy looks suspicious?

“How suspicious?” I ask cautiously.

“Highly suspicious?”

“You mean, as in malignant?”

“Well…yes.”

“So are we talking cancer in my stomach?”

“Yes.  I’m afraid so.”

“The prognosis if that’s true?”

“Not very good, I’m afraid.”

He’s afraid?  I’m trembling with fear.  We settle the details for another more extensive biopsy.  I call my husband Mickey.  Probably a mix-up, we agree–someone else’s tissue.  My friend Donna, who happens to be a pathologist calls.  Her voice too is strained.  Having reviewed my biopsy, she and her pathologist husband Dee appear after work with two bottles of their best wine.  We toast to a “mistake in the lab.”  And feel for the real owner of the suspicious biopsy tissue because the samples they both examined were literally cluttered with countless cancer cells.

stomach cancer factsSaturday begins with a long close silent hug.  If the biopsy tissue truly is mine and I have cancer, we need to be informed.  We head for the medical books in the huge used book store.  We go from there to the library.  We read in silence–page after page of gloom and doom. It is a deadly disease.  Statistics point to a 10% survival rate for victims of stomach cancer. Pictures of my grieving family flash through my mind as the tears well up in my eyes.

Another sustained quiet hug when we get home.  I break away suddenly and declare that the statistics are on our side. If ten percent of the people beat this cancer, that will include me, so my chances then become one hundred percent.  That is how we will present the news to family.  That is optimistic but believable, given my general good health and fighting spirit.

Sunday Mickey calls family members.  My son Jeff and his wife Diana arrive shortly to share our outlook of a hundred percent chance of survival.  My sister tells me to get a copy of Bernie Siegel’s Love, Medicine and Miracles, which I vow to do immediately.  Later that evening Mickey and easily win our mixed doubles tennis match.  I begin reading the book my sister suggested.  The seeds for positive thinking are being planted as I do.

On Monday I undergo what is called a D & C for a feminine bleeding problem also related to cancer and set a tentative schedule for full removal of my stomach on Thursday, should these suspicious cancer cells truly be mine.  They are.  Donna and Dee deliver that dreaded news.  They know the grim outlook for stomach cancer.  Shattering silence.  I say something funny.  I must have.  We all burst out laughing.  I can feel a change in the climate.  I can see they are now on board as believers in my chances of survival.

On Tuesday I spell out my situation to my friend Sharon, who recently sold her share in Sound Warehouse for $46 million dollars.  Upon arrival at my doorstep, she declares with authority that she is “here to insure that I have the best medical care that money can buy.”  The doorbell rings again.  Cissy. Nancy.  Charlene.  Margie.  All bearing gifts–elegant gowns.  I may end up without a stomach but I will be the most beautifully dressed patient in the cancer ward.  We laugh at my concern about bleeding all over the operating table since the D & C didn’t arrest my flow.  We women are commonly such vain creatures.  But good friends like these are rare indeed.

The healing process begins the moment the diagnosis is confirmed with a third biopsy.  As I look at Mickey, his shoulders shaking with stifled sobs—a weak moment of looking ahead at life without me—he apologies.  Suddenly my role in this ordeal becomes clear.

When faced with your own mortality, your primary concern becomes protecting those who love you from all possible pain.  It is not a matter of bravery.  It is just a matter of loving that deeply.  Mickey and I share an uncommon love.  We have overcome enormous obstacles and built a history oIllness and the mind 1f disproving fatalistic predictions.  I have developed an extraordinary closeness with his family.  My own family fills my life with indescribably intense feelings.  They have known the never-ending anguish of losing Mom to a drunk driver.  They don’t deserve to deal with another untimely death.  I cannot let any of them suffer.  So the smile on my face is not an act.  It is an act of love prompted by a genuinely selfish need to be there with them to share whatever memorable moments await us all.

Donna and Dee have already made certain that I will have the best cancer surgeon in the area.  The chairman of Fina Oil, where Mickey works as a VP, vows to see that I receive VIP treat at the best cancer treatment center available.  I have too many people determined that I will be among the survivors.  I cannot let them down.

I arrange for pictures of all my family to surround me when I come out of surgery.  Sitting up on my knees on the gurney, wondering why I can’t trot down the hall to the OR, I smile at my family’s faces and remind them not to have too much fun for the next five hours.  The last thing I remember is Mickey’s hand holding mine as I am wheeled away.  I am still smiling.

Sometime during those next five hours, I lose my sense of humor.  I am groggy but aware and can hear my plaintive plea:  “Pain.  Pain.  Pain.”  I can faintly make out the images above me—my ICUhusband, son, daughter-in-law.  They watch as I am transported to ICU.  The next morning I am sure my scream shatters the glass window when two huge orderlies toss me onto the waiting gurney.  “Don’t—you—touch—me—again—without—a—member—of—my–family—present.”  They step back and are surprised when I pull myself from the gurney to the bed in my room.  My daughter, worlds away from me in lifestyle and philosophy—will stay with me the next ten days.  I watch with wonder as she handpicks the most attentive and caring staff of nurses anyone could hope for and begins to line out the plan for my care.

My gastroenterologist drops by and asks if I mind being a “teaching subject” since mine is such an unusual case.  I eagerly agree, glad to be a part of advancing medical science.  He is joined by my pathologist friend Donna, who announces that my stomach was totally clear of cancer save a tiny millimeter located at the top.  Leaving even a small part of my stomach will be too risky I am told.  “Yours must be the earliest case of stomach cancer ever diagnosed,” she declares.  How could my stomach, so full of cancer five days ago, be almost totally free of it now?  No one tries to explain that but I would later discover other equally rare and miraculous instances of spontaneous remission.SPONTANEOUS REMISSION  My body was eradicating the cancer by itself.

My cancer surgeon tells me he will construct a pouch from a piece of my large intestine that will serve as my stomach.  (I am eating a small portion of sugar-free Jello as he describes this phenomenal feat.  I smile as I recall a passage from humorist Dave Berry’s delightful book Stay Fit and Healthy Until You Are Dead in which he claims that our skin is the most important of our vital organs, because without it, all the disgusting hideous inner parts of us would fall out onto the sidewalk for all manner of people to trip over.

“Ok, Mother,” my daughter beams brightly at 7:00am (she who has never knowingly arisen before noon any day in her life since she ran away from home).  “Up we go now.  We have our goals for the day.”  First, soap bubbles so thick I have little peep holes for eyes, the triple scrub, a quick shave under the arms, a little talcum powder here and there, and lots of lotion everywhere.  Maneuvering seamlessly around all the wires and tubes, she is making sure every inch of me will be supremely soft and supple.

In and out of my morphine mind, I make a list of questions for her to ask my cancer surgeon, should I be asleep when he drops in.  I can hear him now whistling cheerfully down the hallway.  I emulate his demeanor as I am trying for the perfect-patient-of-the-ward award.  That shouldn’t be difficult since I am surrounded by the most efficient medical staff in America.

I feel for those people who hear the word cancer and drop into a deep and unalterable depression.  With the constant arrival of guests, flowers, gifts and cards, I am not likely to let my spirits sag. I am already writing thank you notes in my mind.  And they seem so inadequate when I think of the how everyone continues to buoy my spirits in so many countless ways.

Flitting around my hospital room, I accidentally pull out the feeding tube that was implanted in my side to insure my nourishment should my new “stomach” fail in some way.  I will be fine, I tell myself.  (I later learn that this little set-back will have a serious impact on my recovery.)

Following the highly regimented eating plan the first few weeks at home is not working.  Revulsion and nausea are my constant companions.  One day, as I step out of the bath tub, I glance up at the bank of mirrors I have so carefully avoided.  I gasp.  Looking back at me is the image of a captive in a concentration camp.  My skin clings to my bones.  My eyes are buried deep in their sockets.  I have gone too long without sufficient nourishment.

I call a friend who listens to my plight and reports that she knows someone who stopped his weight loss with Ensure, a repulsive high-calorie sickeningly sweet shake.  I have no choice.  Slowly, I begin to restore my lost pounds.ENSURE

This morning I am awakened by my loving husband who has been sleeping elsewhere, partly because of his cold and partly because I have to sleep upright to keep bile from coming into my throat.  “It’s time to get out and see what’s happening in the rest of the world.  We are going to Jeff’s  weightlifting meet.”  I smile.  Life is full.  Life is good.  I’m still in it.

A quarter of a century later, I am still in it.  I beat the odds and way beyond.  In 2005 two doctors from Australia were awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine for their discovery that the bacteria H-Pylori causes almost 90% of gastric ulcers and these can lead to stomach cancer.  The actual date of their discovery was three years before my ulcer appeared in 1988.  But one study shows that it can take as many as seventeen years before American doctors adapt new medical discoveries into their practice.  That means that we must all do diligent research on the nature of and treatment for our own medical conditions.  As late as 1999, still at risk for a new cancer in my intestine, I could not find a gastroenterologist who would test me for H-Pylori.  It was my family doctor, an osteopath, who did so and prescribed the two-week treatment of triple antibiotics that could have saved my stomach in 1989.

I still face challenges associated with having no stomach.  Battling the bile that comes up from my liver makes getting good sleep an elusive dream.  Ballooning up when my colon locks up brings on birthing-like pain.  Staying hydrated to avoid arrhythmia remains a struggle.  But trips to the ER are increasingly rare and sublingual B-12 has replaced those dreaded self-administered shots. I can, I can I can now say with conviction that I am an active healthy survivor who has much to be thankful for.  I credit my friends for their devotion and for referring me to the gastroenterologist who was thorough enough to biopsy my healed ulcer.  I credit him and the talented surgeon who constructed a replacement “stomach” that has worked so flawlessly all these years.  When diagnosed with stomach cancer, most people are dead within five years.  So, many call my case a medical miracle.

I remain dubious about a beneficent god who would opt to save me while letting more deserving people die.  I am more open to the possibility that having a positive spirit causes the body to pump out protective agents yet to be identified.  I don’t pretend to be able to explain medical miracles but I am deeply thankful–for the sake of those who care–that one happened to me.

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priscilla pictureAn award winning high school speech and English teacher, Priscilla Diffie-Couch went on to get her ED.D. from Oklahoma State University, where she taught speech followed by two years with the faculty of communication at the University of Tulsa.  In her consulting business later in Dallas, she designed and conducted seminars in organizational and group communication.

An avid tennis player, she has spent the last twenty years researching and reporting on health for family and friends.  She has two children, four grandchildren and lives with her husband Mickey in The Woodlands, Texas.

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 Bob Aronson  has worked as a broadcast journalist, Minnesota Governor’s Communications Director and for 25 years led his own company as an international communication consultant GIF shot bob by TVspecializing in health care.

In  2007 he had a heart transplant at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is the Bob of Bob’s Newheart and the author of most of the nearly 250 posts on this site.  He is also the founder of Facebook’s nearly 4,000 member Organ Transplant Initiative (OTI) support group.

You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to him at bob@baronson.org.  And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.

One More Last Chance


optimism cartoonIntroduction by Bob Aronson

Post  by Dawn Anita Plumlee

This post is one of several in the “Inspirational” category.  It is about hope, it is also a love story  and it’s about the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.  Best of all, it is true, every word of it.  I can vouch for its veracity because I know the author very well.

Bob’s Newheart blogs was launched over seven years ago to help support and motivate critically ill people, their families, caregivers and friends. Many if not most of our posts speak directly to medical and health issues. A good many focus on organ donation/transplantation issues because my 2007 heart transplant is what motivated me to start writing this blog. Today’s entry, while not about medical issues or transplants in particular is true to our original intent because it deals with motivation and inspiration. 

Dawn Anita (Diffie) Plumlee is my wife Robin’s (Diffie) cousin. She is a remarkable woman with a “Can do,” upbeat attitude. Dawn Anita and her husband Jerry are special people. They have overcome incredible odds to get where they are today. Many who might experience setbacks or reversals in life are bitter and resentful. Not so with these two. I know them well and we talk often. They endured incredible life hardships but viewed them as learning experiences and never looked back other than to use their knowledge to help others.

Bob’s Newheart gets a lot of requests for “inspirational posts,” for blogs that give hope to those who feel they have none. I often get notes from people who feel hope is lost, that they cannot recover from whatever hardships have befallen them. I know  about Dawn Anita’s journey, having heard some of it from her and the rest from reading her Amazon book, “One More Last Chance,” and cannot think of a story more likely to inspire and to give hope.  It is in that spirit that we present it today.  

I should point out that she did not write this posting to sell books. That’s not Dawn Anita. Rather, she wrote it because I asked her to submit part of her story so I could include it in the “Inspirational” category of my blogs. While Dawn Anita would not use this forum to promote her book, I can. It’s a darn good read. If you like what you read here you can get more under the same title at Amazon.com.

One more note. Dawn Anita’s sister is Priscilla Diffie-Couch, another of our guest bloggers here on Bob’s Newheart.

By: Dawn Anita Plumlee

If we live long enough, all of us will face hardship in our lives, i.e. finances, death of a loved one, illness. It is up to us to decide how we handle life’s challenges. As I see it, there are two choices. Give up or have the grit and determination it takes to tackle life’s dilemmas. There is always a way if you choose to seek one more last chance. I came to this realization while writing my memoirs which bear the same title. Reaching back into my past was definitely a challenge and not one I was sure I could achieve. Recalling events in my life led me to a better understanding of myself and the way I handled adversity and the many second chances I had.

Dawn Anita and Jerry, the beginning.

Dawn Anita and Jerry, the beginning.

I was a naïve 16-year old country girl from Oklahoma when I decided to run away to marry my sweetheart Jerry Plumlee.

I met my first challenge on the 5-day bus trip from Oklahoma to Seattle when I divulged my story about running away to a young military man who punches masher b and wboarded the bus late one night. He saw what he thought was an opportunity to take advantage of a young, innocent country girl, only to be met with a right hook to the jaw which landed him in the aisle of the bus.

That incident, along with the very charming man with a smooth easy way of talking who convinced me that he had my best interests at heart when he asked me to come to his apartment in LA during an eight-hour layover, didn’t deter my faith in people. I could have chosen to give up and terminate my journey, but I still held on to the hope that life would be rosy once I reached my destination.

scorpionLearning to survive in a mouse infested, run-down shack with stinging scorpions so thick that several were trapped in our bathtub and in the glasses and bowls each morning with wasps swarming the house all day and copper heads under the front porch was indeed a challenge. We survived on 50 cent watermelons for several days because the $80.00 my husband earned didn’t stretch to the end of the month. The real revelation is that when I remember this time in our lives, I remember it as a great experience, and I realize that these events helped us become better equipped to face other dilemmas in life. The ironic thing is, you can survive one dilemma only to find yourself entrapped in another one just as bad or worse.

Traveling from Oklahoma to Idaho in an old pickup that rocked and rolled down the road pulling pickup and horse traileran enclosed U-haul  trailer with 3 horses inside and trying to calm a two-week old baby was definitely an adventure I will never forget. Having to overcome the fear of an empty gas tank in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming, knowing you have no milk for your baby was indeed a challenge, unaware at the time that this was merely one mishap in a long line of difficulties on the same trip. A flat tire with no spare, having to unload a horse to take the tire to be repaired, not knowing how far it may be and later to have the u-joint on the pickup break in the middle of a treacherous road on a dark and dreary night definitely can test ones character

Relieved that our resourceful brother-in-law came to our rescue and repaired the u-joint, we could not know that just a short time later, we would literally “run into” another dilemma; our brother-in-law hit a cow and smashed in the radiator on the truck. Still, we were not defeated. Our brother-in-law pulled our pickup, horse trailer, horses and all with his car over 100 miles to our destination. This was an unbelievable feat in itself. Arriving at our destination In Idaho, we did not find the paradise we were hoping for. Turmoil filled the household with too many families living under one roof.

parkMoving out in the middle of the night, we found ourselves stranded in a park in Coeur d-Alene with no money, food or shelter. Leaving me alone in the park with our baby, Jerry assured me that he could enroll in college, get a student loan and find a place for us to live. As I watched Jerry leave, an empty feeling washed over me. My baby is hungry; I have no milk for him and no money to buy any. Then suddenly a thought struck me; Ipop bottles can trade the empty pop bottles lying around in the park for some milk for my baby. I walked into a little store nearby with my baby and the empty bottles in hand, and with a touching display of generosity, the clerk gave me some milk for the bottles.

Thankful but still distraught, it seemed an eternity before Jerry returned and he had indeed accomplished his mission. He enrolled in college, obtained a $200.00 loan and found a place to live where we could keep our horses. Once again, perseverance and determination paid off. Life was good in Idaho with a few bumps along the way. I had a beautiful baby girl, Jerry was in college and I went to work for a flower shop, but Oklahoma was calling us.

It was a struggle when we moved back to Oklahoma, but we eventually found our way. Jerry went to work on the ranch where my dad was the foreman. I went to work for an attorney, and although I dawn anita, the early daysloved my job, I had an ever-burning desire to become a country singer. I joined a local band and sang almost every weekend. Many opportunities presented themselves in the music business. I let several chances slip away which would have no doubt led to fame, the most significant of which was a contract with RCA Records. I wanted it so badly, but I couldn’t bear to leave my children and go on tour. I felt sure I could achieve my goal in music when the kids graduated. Little did I know that when we finally took the leap of faith and moved to Nashville, that Music City welcomes a 40-year-old female with a closed mind and a cold heart. I did have several regional hits, won several awards for my singing and songwriting, including “Female Vocalist of the Year” and “Entertainer of the Year” at the Oklahoma Opry, but it seemed that my vision of becoming a country music star would be an elusive dream.

The years passed quickly; our lives were full with our jobs, family and music. Little did we know that life as we knew it was about to come to an end. The company who owned the ranch where Jerry had worked for ten years and Dad had worked for over twenty changed management and fired Dad and Jerry. We had to move out in thirty days. Shattered, we didn’t know how we would survive; where would we live, where would Jerry work. It was so sudden. This upset in our lives was devastating, but it could not begin to compare with the tragedy that would soon tear our lives apart. My mother was killed in a car wreck. Such a waste, a horrible, tragic loss. Mom was only 55. She was our strength; how could we go on without her? We were not prepared to handle a trauma of this magnitude.

Mom and Dad had a rare and beautiful relationship like no other.

Dawn Anita's Mom and Dad

Dawn Anita’s Mom and Dad

He needed comfort, someone to lean on, and I was that person. Somehow I pulled myself together because I knew Dad needed me now more than ever. It was difficult for him to cope, and the everyday struggles of life without Mom were insurmountable. At times his actions were not those of the dad I had always known. A neighbor called one morning to report that Dad had spent the night in the pasture in a cow trough. I completely understood when he told me that sometimes he just couldn’t face that empty house. Dad eventually learned how to cope and make the pieces in life fit once again. Evidence that with just a little help and a strong will, you can recover and overcome the toughest of times.

oil gusherOur life definitely took a sudden turn when Jerry went into the oil business and we decided to move to Dallas. Our world quickly crumbled around us when the oil business went south. We were sitting in a house that didn’t belong to us, obligated for furniture we didn’t need with a responsibility to pay a year’s lease on an office and office furniture. The most devastating part was not our loss, but Dad’s. He had invested a sizeable sum of money in the business and we had no way to recover his money.

We returned to our little ranch house in Oklahoma with sad hearts and empty pocketbooks only to discover that all of our worldly possessions had been stolen. Times like these can definitely test ones spirit. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so we decided Dawn Anita and Jerryto saddle our horses and embark on a journey from Oklahoma to Nashville with only a few dollars, a lot of guts, my old guitar and some cassette tapes with my music. Our goal was to make it to Nashville in time for me to sing at FanFair. We were definitely a sight to behold with all of the gear loaded onto our horses… saddles, saddle-bags, bed rolls, nose bags, horse feed, camping supplies, canteens and slickers. We could not begin to fathom what an adventure we were about to undertake. Our journey took 24 days and it rained 22 days. We had many close calls…a lightning storm, Jerry’s horse jumping out in traffic, close calls on slick bridges, but the memories of the wonderful friends we made along the way helped us forget the saddle sores, the danger and the aching bones.

Total strangers opened their hearts, their homes and their pocketbooks to help us on our journey. The healing rain during that long ride from the state we have always known as home to the city of country music had washed our spirits clean. I knew that there might never be one more last chance for fame and fortune in the tenuous trouble-strewn world of music, but I was certain there would be one more last chance for us to feel whole again.

It has now been 56 years since I first boarded that bus in Tulsa, Oklahoma, as a naïve 16-year old country girl and 22 years since our horseback ride from Oklahoma to Nashville. It seems so long ago, and yet time has passed so quickly. There have been many twists and turns in the road on our journey up the hill, but we have persevered. We have 2 gorgeous children, 7 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. Life is beautiful, but the road hasn’t always been smooth. I lost my dad and many other close friends and relatives.

We’ve had to overcome sickness and have had many personal struggles, but through it all, we have Dawn anita singingbelieved and held onto the hope that all will turn out well. As we stroll hand in hand down the other side of the hill, we feel confident that whatever happens, we will remain strong and resilient to the end.”

Another note from Bob Aronson

Dawn Anita’ s story is inspirational because of her spirit.  She just refuses to lose faith and to give in to adversity.  While she may  not have become a huge country music star that’s Nashville’s loss.  Go to her website http://www.freecountryrecords.com/ watch and listen to her perform and you’ll agree.  She is the consummate performer, when she takes the stage and begins to sing, audiences are captivated.  I am proud to call her “Cousin” and friend.  Thank you Dawn Anita and Jerry, you are wonderful examples of the American Spirit.

bob minus Jay full shotBob Aronson of Bob’s Newheart is a 2007 heart transplant recipient, the founder of Facebook’s over 4,000 member Organ Transplant Initiative (OTI) and the author of most of these donation/transplantation blogs. You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at bob@baronson.org. And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.

50 Inspirational Quotes About Kindness, Courage and Compassion


Introduction by Bob Aronson

(Attribution is given with each quote)

Scartoonometimes the saying the right thing in the right tone at the right time can have a powerful impact, but often search as we may, we cannot find the right words within us.  That is when the search area must be expanded to those who may have had similar experiences, but also the time to weigh and articulate their thoughts — thoughts that clearly express your feelings.  While ironic, it is also a fact of life that often those most quoted are those who quote most often.  

There is no harm done in quoting others to help you make your point,.  There is only good to be found when the well considered words of another help you to find peace and give comfort.  It is in that spirit that we offer this collection of inspirational quotes about Kindness, Courage and Compassion.  They are among my favorites.  I hope you like them, too.

 

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”
― Plato

 

“Dare to Be

When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.

When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.

When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.

When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.

When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.

When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.

When you’re feeling tired, dare to keep going.

When times are tough, dare to be tougher.Dare to be different

When love hurts you, dare to love again.

When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.

When another is lost, dare to help them find the way.

When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.

When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.

When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.

When the day has ended, dare to feel as you’ve done your best.

Dare to be the best you can –At all times, Dare to be!”

― Steve MaraboliLife, the Truth, and Being Free

 

 “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” ― Mother Teresa

 

giving“No one has ever become poor by giving.” ― Anne Frankdiary of Anne Frank

 

 Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” ― Dalai Lama XIVThe Art of Happiness

 

“for there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one’s own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.” ― Milan KunderaThe Unbearable Lightness of Being

 

“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”  ― Elizabeth GilbertEat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

 

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ― Leo Buscaglia

 

“Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it’s at the end of your arm, as you get older, remember you have another hand: The first is to help yourself, the second is to help others.” ― Sam Levenson

 

 

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that
something else is more important than fear.”   Ambrose Redmoon

 

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.”  William G.T. Shedd

 

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”   Anaïs Nin

 

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”   Mark Twain

 

“Freedom lies in being bold.”   Robert Frost

 

“For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”  ― Neil deGrasse Tyson

 

“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.” ― Dietrich BonhoefferLetters and Papers from Prison

 

 “The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud — the obstacles of life and its suffering. … The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matterlotus what our stations in life. … Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one. ”  ― Goldie Hawn

 

“How much can we ever know about the love and pain in another heart? How much can we hope to understand those who have suffered deeper anguish, greater deprivation, and more crushing disappointments than we ourselves have known?” ― Orhan PamukSnow

 

“When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist.” ― Hélder CâmaraDom Helder Camara: Essential Writings

 

 “Some people think only intellect counts: knowing how to solve problems, knowing how to get by, knowing how to identify an advantage and seize it. But the functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion, and empathy.” ― Dean Koontz

 

“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. ” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

 

“Love is not patronizing and charity isn’t about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same — with charity you give love, so don’t just give money but reach out your hand instead.”  ― Mother Teresa

 

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”  ― John Bunyan

 

Let us not underestimate how hard it is to be compassionate. Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken. But this is not our spontaneous response to suffering. What we desire most is to do away with suffering by fleeing from it or finding a quick cure for it.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen

 

“The thought manifests the word

The word manifests the deed;

The deed develops into habit;
And habit hardens into character;
So watch the thought and its ways with care,
And let them spring forth from love
Born out of compassion for all beings.
As the shadow follows the body, as we think, so we become.”
― Juan Mascaró

 

  Do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner,  or the poor, and  let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.  echariah 7:10

 

“The only time you look in your neighbor’s bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don’t look in your neighbor’s bowl to see if you have as much as them.”  ― Louis C.K.

 

“Protect your enthusiasm from the negativity and fear of others. Never decide to do nothing just because you can only do little. Do what you can. You would be surprised at what “little” acts have done for our world.”  ― Steve Maraboli

 

When asked what was the greatest commandment, Jesus responded that it is to love God with all our heart, mind and strength. But He added that the second commandment “is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:34-40). The Pharisee had asked Him which single command of God is the greatest, but Jesus provided two, stating not only what we are to do, but also how to do it. To love our neighbor as ourselves is the natural result of our loving devotion toward God.

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“The nature of compassion isn’t coming to terms with your own suffering and applying it to others: It’s knowing that other folks around you suffer and, no matter what happens to you, no matter how lucky or unlucky you are, they keep suffering. And if you can do something about that, then you do it, and you do it without whining or waving your own fuckin’ cross for the world to see. You do it because it’s the right thing to do.”  ― John ConnollyDark Hollow

 

“Be kind to people whether they deserve your kindness or not. If your kindness reaches the deserving good for you if your kindness reaches the undeserving take joy in your compassion.”
― James FadimanEssential Sufism

 

“[The] insistence on the absolutely indiscriminate nature of compassion within the Kingdom is the dominant perspective of almost all of Jesus’ teaching.
What is indiscriminate compassion? ‘Take a look at a rose. Is is possible for the rose to say, “I’ll compassionoffer my fragrance to good people and withhold it from bad people”? Or can you imagine a lamp that withholds its rays from a wicked person who seeks to walk in its light? It could do that only be ceasing to be a lamp. And observe how helplessly and indiscriminately a tree gives its shade to everyone, good and bad, young and old, high and low; to animals and humans and every living creature — even to the one who seeks to cut it down. This is the first quality of compassion — its indiscriminate character.’ (Anthony DeMello, The Way to Love)…

 

 

What makes the Kingdom come is heartfelt compassion: a way of tenderness that knows no frontiers, no labels, no compartmentalizing, and no sectarian divisions.” ― Brennan ManningAbba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging

 

“These things will destroy the human race: politics without principle, progress without compassion, wealth without work, learning without silence, religion without fearlessness, and worship without awareness.”  ― Anthony de Mello

 

“When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses.” ― Shirley Chisholm

 

Enlightened leadership is spiritual if we understand spirituality not as some kind of religiou
Leaderships dogma or ideology but as the domain of awareness where we experience values like truth, goodness, beauty, love and compassion, and also intuition, creativity, insight and focused attention. Deepak Chopra

 

Never apologize for showing feeling, my friend. Remember that when you do so, you apologize for truth.   Benjamin Disraeli, in Contarini Fleming :

 

A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble. ~Charles H. Spurgeon

 

Never miss an opportunity to make others happy, even if you have to leave them alone in order to do it. ~Author Unknown

 

Don’t wait for people to be friendly, show them how. ~Author Unknown

 

You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

There’s a lot of not caring that goes under the name of minding your own business. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com

 

The only people with whom you should try to get even are those who have helped you. ~John E. Southard


bob magic kingdom
Bob Aronson of Bob’s Newheart is a 2007 heart transplant recipient, the founder of Facebook’s nearly 4,000 member Organ Transplant Initiative (OTI) and the author of most of these donation/transplantation blogs. You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at bob@baronson.org. And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.

From Zero to HOPE in 25 Quotes


Introduction by Bob Aronson

hope cartoon 5

When you are placed on the organ transplant list it is because you have been diagnosed with an end-stage disease and the only way to save your life is with an organ transplant.  Many look at the number of people on the list and the organ shortage and give up.  I did just that.  I thought I was too old and not sick enough and had given up hope.  I now know how foolish that was because despite all the odds against me, despite waiting for 12 years to get on the transplant list, despite being 68 years old at the time — I got a new heart after only 13 days on the list.  I was the right person in the right place at the right time with the right match.

There’s always hope – always.  Giving up hope is to die while still among the living.  Hope is powerful and hope is always your partner.  Don’t give up on her because she is always working for you.

The following quotes are among the best I could find on the issue of hope.  Read them, print them, tuck them away for reference and share them and above all…don’t give up.Mary lou retton cropped

 

1.    “Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”  –Sihel Silverstein

2.    “I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.”–Robert Fulghum
goodtimes ahead sign

3.    “Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”  –Emily Dickinson

4.    “I like the night. Without the dark, we’d never see the stars.”  –Stephanie Meyer, Twilight

 

5.    “The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone, but the things you do for others remain as your legacy.”  –Kalu Ndukwe Kaluwinnie the poo

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6.    “I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.” –C. JoyBell C.

7.    The road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveler than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination.”  –Marion Zimmer Bradley

8.    “You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”  –Pablo Neruda

 pessimist and optimist  harry truman

9.    Until the day when God shall deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is summed up in these two words,–‘Wait and hope’. — Alexandre Dumas

 

 

10.There are no hopeless situations; there are only men who have grown hopeless about them.  —   Clare Booth Luce

 

11.Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for. – Epicurious

 

12.Hope never abandons you, you abandon it.” -George Weinberg

 

13.“Hope itself is a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords; but, like all other pleasures immoderately enjoyed, the excesses of hope must be expiated by pain.”  -Samuel Johnson

 

14. Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes shine to the stars. Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait. The grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas. — Henry Ford

 

15.When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn. –Harriet Beecher Stowehope cartoon 4

 

16.“If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.” –Mary Pickford

 

17.“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” –Thomas Edison

 

18.“Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn’t know that so it goes on flying anyway.” –Mary Kay Ash

 

19.“To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.” –G.K. Chesterson

 

20.Hope is tenacious. It goes on living and working when science has dealt it what should be its deathblow. PauL laurence Dunbar

 hope cartoon

21.Expectancy speeds progress. Therefore, live in a continual state of expectancy. No matter how much good you are experiencing today, expect greater good tomorrow. Expect to meet new friends. Expect to meet new and wonderful experiences. Try this magic of expectancy and you will soon discover a dramatic side to your work which gives full vent to constructive feeling. – Ernest Holmes

 

22.Hope is sweet-minded and sweet-eyed. It draws pictures; it weaves fancies; it fills the future with delight.—Henry Ward Beecher

 

23.A man begins to die when he ceases to expect anything from Tomorrow.—Abraham Miller

 

24.There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something better tomorrow – Orison Swett Marden

 

25.Hope is not like a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky…. optimism smilehope is an ax you break down doors with in an emergency — Rebecca Solnit


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bob magic kingdomBob Aronson is a 2007 heart transplant recipient, the founder and primary author of the blogs on this site and the founder of Facebook’s over 3,000 member Organ Transplant Initiative group.

Now retired and living in Jacksonville, Florida with his wife Robin he spends his time advocating for patients with end stage diseases and for organ recipients.  He is also active in helping his wife with her art business at art festivals and on her Rockin Robin Prints site on Etsy. 

Bob is a former journalist, Governor’s Communication Director and international communications consultant.

Life and Death and Life — The David Moore, Lance Lewis Story


“One can never pay in gratitude: one can only pay ‘in kind’ somewhere else in life.”

Anne Morrow Lindberg

A note from Bob Aronson

This post falls under the category of “Inspirational stories” in my blog index.  We’ve had several such stories but none outshines this one.  It is truly remarkable. 

“Officer Down” are two words no one ever wants to hear and we hope and pray they never have to be said again.  Too many fine young men and women have died in the line of duty.  This is the story of one of them and how despite his death a part of him lives on.

Officer david moore officer downDavid Moore of the Indianapolis, Indiana Metropolitan Police Department was an  “officer down” in that particular call.  He was a bright, energetic, well-liked and committed policeman who was taken from us in his prime.

Lance Lewis was struggling for every breath he took when Officer Moore was gunned down.  Lewis was suffering from a genetic lung disease that was destroying his lungs.  He never knew what it was like to take a normal breath, to run with other kids and take part in activities that called for exerting himself.  lance lewis croppedIt just wasn’t possible.  He is seen in the picture to the right some two and a half years before Officer Moore’s untimely death.  Lewis was extremely thin and struggling to make it through every day.

By now you’ve guessed that Lance Lewis was the recipient of David Moore’s lungs but if you stop reading here you will be doing both men and yourself a disservice.  You simply must read, re-read and digest this incredible story.

Everyone who gets a transplant has been through an epic journey and experiences all the extremes human emotions can allow.  And…no transplant patient travels the road alone.  It is usually a family affair, sometimes it’s a community affair but great numbers of people are ultimately involved in every transplant.

You don’t hear about donors quite as often as you hear about recipients for two reasons 1) most donors are deceased and 2) many donor families prefer to remain anonymous.  When recipients and donors or donor families do get together, which is not common, the story becomes doubly important.  The recipient gets a new life and the donor family most often has an uplifting experience and develops a strong relationship with the recipient of their gift of life.   Donor families often suffer great grief and then great joy simultaneously.  Grief from having lost a loved one and joy from knowing they saved at least one life and further joy often when they meet the recipient(s).

This blog is about two wonderful families and a sad but wonderful outcome.  It is a story that should be told again and again and again.  This is long for a blog, just like my last post, but I believe our readers want some meat on the bones of the stories I tell and this one has plenty of that.

Officer Moore was a true hero whose memory will live for a very long time.  Lance Lewis is also a hero because of the way he honors the gift of life from his donor.  Lance does everything he can to not only take good care of his new lungs but to keep this story alive in hopes that by telling and re-telling it he can encourage others to become donors as well.  These two men didn’t know each other but their lives intersected in a very meaningful way.

At the end of this post you’ll find an update from Lance Lewis and several pictures that relate to experience with his donor family along with his individual accomplishments.

A true organ donation story as

 reported in the Indianapolis Monthly magazine.

 by Evan West

12/27/2011

Two years ago, policeman David Moore was gunned down in the line of duty. A family lost their only son. But his lungs have given another man a remarkable second chance.


Editor’s Note, June 21, 2012: Thomas Hardy was sentenced to life in prison without parole in April. Eric Jenkins was indicted today on three counts of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. Authorities allege that he sold the semi-automatic handgun noted in this story to Hardy in 2011.

When you’re on the list, you pick up the phone—middle of the night, in the bathroom, driving. Lance Lewis knew the statistics: on average, every day in the United States, 18 people on the list die waiting. When the phone rings, you answer.

Lance was on the couch when the call came. The computers had identified him as a potential match. He and his wife, Cathy, lived on the south side, and they would need to get to Methodist Hospital, in downtown Indianapolis, as soon as possible. “We think we have a pair of lungs for you,” the caller said.

The date was January 26, 2011. The last time a call had come, almost exactly a year earlier, Lance wasn’t ready. Making it through a lung transplant was difficult enough, even for a relatively healthy patient, and Lance had been recovering from a bout of pneumonia and had a fever. Several calls went back and forth between him and the hospital, touch and go, until doctors decided to move on to the next name on the list. He and Cathy cried. Then they regrouped. “That wasn’t the call,” she told him. “Those weren’t your lungs.”

The two had grown used to waiting. When Lance first went on the list, in 2003, about 30 other would-be recipients stood ahead of him. After two years, his name had moved up to number 10. When the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization, or IOPO, changed the rules so that the sickest patients would get lungs first, Lance dropped back to number 36. He and Cathy agreed it was only fair. His doctor suggested they pull his name off until things got worse. “When you get sicker,” he said, “come back and see us, and we’ll get you right back on.”

Now Lance had difficulty carrying a gallon of milk from the car and up the three steps to his front porch. He had used an oxygen tank off and on for the past two-and-a-half years—and for the last year, he had been hooked to the thing constantly. So when this pair of lungs became available, Lance’s name was near the top of the list. A blood test confirmed his match with the donor, and that night, at about 10:30, technicians wheeled Lance into an operating room. His adult children, two of whom lived hours away, arrived just in time to tell their father they loved him. They didn’t know if they would have the chance to tell him again.

In the waiting room, Cathy watched two televisions flash updates about a young policeman shot during a traffic stop a few days earlier, who was at another hospital just blocks away. It has been a turbulent few days for the Moore family and fellow IMPD officers, as David Moore has fought for his life … Now they’re forced to face the worst, as his battle has been lost … It seemed like everywhere she looked, Cathy saw a television with another report about that policeman and his parents. She felt like crying for them. And it seemed like everyone around her was talking about it. Strangers kept asking her why she was there. “My husband is having a lung transplant,” she told them.

David Moore grew up in a police family. His father, Spencer, served in Vietnam with the Air Force’s security police. In 1968, he joined the Indianapolis Police Department where he would climb the administrative ranks to the level of lieutenant.

After joining the department, Spencer founded Explorer Post 435, part of an outreach initiative for teenagers interested in law enforcement. In 1974, a 17-year-old high school senior named Jo Ann Cord—Jo, as her friends called her—walked into a meeting in a church on the south side. She had wanted to become a police officer since reading The Super Cops, an action-packed book about real-life New York policemen. The first day he met Jo—self-confident, outspoken, pretty—Spencer, then 30, says he knew he was going to marry her, even though she thought the older policeman was, in his words, “an unmitigated, arrogant asshole.” But past the wisecracking exterior, she saw a man who was fun, and caring.

Spencer asked Jo’s father for permission to “court” her. Jo wasn’t pleased. “I thought courting meant getting married, and I thought we were just dating,” says Jo. “I got all upset in front of my dad. Courting? What’s courting? Spencer was like, ‘Oh, good Lord,’ because it showed the 12 years of age difference.”

The following March, Spencer bought a pair of rings, then waited until Jo graduated, in May, to propose. “I told Spencer, ‘If you don’t want your wife to be a policeman, don’t marry me,’” she says. “That would have been a deal breaker.”

They married in the fall, and a daughter, Carol, came four years later. They had their second child, David, in 1981. When David was 4, Jo decided to join the department. In preparation for the entrance exams, she carried study materials around their southside tri-level to look them over while she did housework. One morning, she heard David crying in his room. “If you’re going to become a police man,” he asked her, his little face streaked red, “then who will be my mommy?”

Young David spent a lot of time around the department. Jo worked on Mounted Patrol, and he would feed and groom the animals in the horse barn. He also visited headquarters, where his father worked. “I was in administration, so I had offices instead of squad cars,” says Spencer. “People got to know him. David was just a nice kid, pleasant and respectful. He was always around police. Our friends were police. By the time David was into his formative years, that’s all he knew.” He talked about being a police officer when he grew up, just like his mom and dad.

David was a big, strong boy (he would grow to be over 6-feet tall and a muscled 200 pounds), but he was also kind, and children around the neighborhood looked to him to settle disputes. He and Carol, his older sister, were close. The two of them were home alone one day, and David, roughhousing, punched a hole in the wall. Carol carefully patched and painted it to hide the evidence. Their parents never knew about the damage until years later, when Carol, as an adult, finally copped to the cover-up.

From the time they were married, Spencer encouraged Jo to be an equal partner. He wanted her to know how to fix stuff around the house. Independent by nature, Jo relished such tasks, and Spencer would sometimes return from conventions to find that she had remodeled an entire room. Spencer had never wanted a “grocery-shelf” wife. More important, he says, “I knew that if something happened to me, she would be left alone.” The two bought funeral plots, so that if one of them was killed in the line of duty, the other wouldn’t have to decide in mourning where to hold the burial. “With him being a police officer, and with my years of service,” Jo says, “the idea of not coming home is kind of in the back of your mind.”

When David was 6, his parents brought him to a memorial service held for Officer Matt Faber, shot after entering an eastside home. When David was 11, he attended a service for Officer Teresa Hawkins, killed in a crash while driving her patrol car. The elaborate ritual, the regalia, the bowed heads, the tributes—all the trappings of the police funeral seemed to move him deeply. He looked off to the distance through the window of his mother’s squad car as the two rode along in the procession.

Cathy Lewis used to tell Lance that he moved “like a turtle,” because it took him a long time to do anything. They would go shopping, and he would still be climbing out of the car after she had already walked into the store. The two married in 1977, just six months after they met. (On their first date, he had moved to kiss her good night. “If you’re not looking for a real relationship, then you’d better run,” she told him, “because I could see myself falling for you.” He called her the next day.) Lance had never been particularly active; his mother told Cathy that, even as a boy, he frequently struggled with bronchitis. They had always assumed he had asthma. But over time Lance seemed to be getting worse. He would lose his breath and need to rest after simple tasks.

In 2000, when Lance was 43, he went to the doctor for chest X-rays. The doctor looked at the X-rays and recommended he see a pulmonologist. Then, the pulmonologist looked at the X-rays. “Lance,” he said, “you have the lungs of an 80-year-old man.” The images showed lung deterioration consistent with emphysema. But unlike the emphysema of, say, long-term smokers, which damages the lungs from the top, the deterioration in Lance’s lungs seemed to be spreading from the bottom. “I can tell you exactly what the problem is,” he said. “But we’ll have to do a blood test to confirm it.” A lab in California proved what the pulmonologist had surmised: Lance had alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, an inherited genetic disorder that allows the body’s immune system to attack healthy tissue in the lungs. Since birth, Lance’s white blood cells had been slowly devouring his ability to breathe.

Although Lance’s condition appeared in his lungs, the disease actually originates in the liver, which is supposed to produce an enzyme that prevents the lung damage. But no doctor would agree to replace a liver that was, as in Lance’s case, otherwise perfectly healthy. Eventually, Lance’s lungs would stop functioning completely—but no one could say for sure when that would be. Five years? Ten?

Lance would need a lung transplant to save his life. But he faced a difficult decision. If he did nothing, mortality would overcome him in a gradual, measured advance. On the other hand, lung transplantation carried tremendous risks. Recipients died on the operating table. They died when their bodies rejected the donor organs. They died of infection. The average five-year survival rate was a flat 50 percent. Lance had to weigh an impossible dilemma: When should he trade the certainty of a gasping, drawn-out demise for a surgery that gave him a 50/50 shot at a longer life—but also a 50/50 chance of dying even sooner than the disease would kill him?

Lance’s son, Jason, told Lance that he would “rather have a sick dad for 10 years than a healthy dad for five.” But three years after the diagnosis, Lance and Cathy decided to let doctors put his name on the transplant list.

Then they waited.

In 1996, David Moore enrolled at Franklin Central High School. Sometimes David got into fights. As a freshman, he had a man’s body and a deep voice, and when other children were bullied, they seemed to look to David for help. One day in the hall, a student dropped some books, and as others jeered and kicked, David stooped to help gather them up. When another boy persisted in kicking at the books, David shoved him away. A teacher contacted David’s parents and told them the altercation typified David’s troubles. “He is quite the protector,” the teacher said.

Before the school year was over, David’s parents moved him to Roncalli, a Catholic high school. Not long after starting there, he told his mother that a classmate had dropped some books on the floor, and David had braced himself for another fight—until everyone else bent to pick up the books. “He knew he had found a home,” says Jo.

“This big, burly guy just kind of walked in the middle of freshman year,” says Zack Conover, a close friend of David’s. “Everyone was gawking at him, because he had a full-grown beard, and he was real quiet. He intimidated a lot of people.” When David warmed up, though, Conover discovered that he was “a B.S.er.” He had a “shit-eating” grin (as David’s dad called it) that signaled his intentions for mischief. Conover, who played football with David, says he liked to sneak into the locker room and move around teammates’ photos and other personal items.

David became a star defensive end and co-captain on the Roncalli team that went undefeated and won a state championship in 1999. David excelled in the classroom as well, and he was drawn to the physical challenge and discipline of military training; as graduation approached, he fielded scholarship offers from The Citadel and the United States Coast Guard Academy. He opted for a Marine Officer NROTC scholarship at Purdue, in 2000, and once there, he left the same strong mark he had in high school. On one occasion, Spencer and Jo visited the school’s administrative offices, and the reaction they got made them think they had been mistaken for celebrities. “The place went crazy,” says Spencer. “You’re David Moore’s parents? Hey everybody, David Moore’s parents are here!

For David, a military career beckoned. He introduced his father to an old Marine master gunnery sergeant who worked with him at Purdue, and Spencer recalls the man telling David, “You are one of the few people I’ve met at your age that I’d follow anywhere—even into the gates of Hell.” When it became apparent that an old knee injury would keep David out of the Corps, a colonel pleaded with superiors to keep him.

But fate, it seemed, had other plans. In 2004, David, then 22, returned home to join the Indianapolis Police Department’s 102nd class of recruits.

Officer David Moore was driving a patrol car down Michigan Street in the near-westside neighborhood of Haughville, at close to midnight, when he heard bursts of gunfire. It sounded like they were coming from the side street he had just passed. Another officer patrolling the area, Adam Chappell, passed him coming from the opposite direction on Michigan just moments after the shots rang out. The two were on street-level enforcement detail, or SLED, a unit focused on crime “hot spots” around the city. David picked up the radio. “Chap, did you hear that?” he barked.

“It sounded like what I imagined Fallujah sounded like,” says Chappell. “It was a gun battle.” The two officers made quick U-turns and steered down Goodlet Avenue toward a parked van. They heard more gunfire and saw the outline of figures scrambling away into the shadows. As David drove on toward the van, Chappell, following behind, turned down an alley and then jumped out of his cruiser to chase the fleeing assailants. Then he heard more gunshots. BAM. Pause. BAM BAM BAM BAM. They had come from the street, right where he had last seen David pulling up on the parked van.

“It sounded like what I imagined Fallujah sounded like,” says Chappell. “It was a gun battle.”

Suddenly, quiet. Chappell called out. Dave, you okay? No answer. David! He jumped back into the car and sped around to the front of the house, fearing the worst.

“It sounded like what I imagined Fallujah sounded like,” says Chappell. “It was a gun battle.”

As he pulled up to the van, he saw David. He was standing there, gun drawn, with five men lying on the ground before him. Four were facedown on the pavement, surrendered. The fifth was fatally injured. A Bersa .380 semi-automatic handgun—a cheap, easily concealable pistol the man had fired at David from a few yards away—still lay by his side. For the incident, which occurred in 2008, the department would award David the Medal of Valor.

“We all work with these officers—they’re just kind of there, soup and sandwich,” says Chappell. “You think, ‘Man, if something ever happens, I hope he’s not my backup.’ But David was a go-to guy. I knew that if I was involved in something serious, David was going to come running.” Officer Jeremy Gates used to patrol with David in the North District, and he says he could barely get David to slow down long enough to grab a gas-station sandwich for dinner. He had a preternatural ability to spot suspicious activity. Without notice, he would stop the cruiser, jump out, and take off on foot toward a suspect. “Aside from the receding hairline,” says Gates, “he was the poster boy for what a police officer is supposed to look like. His uniform was always squared away, boots shined—the whole nine.”

David was also a good guy who knew how to have a good time. Single (and something of a ladies’ man), he took Christmas-day shifts for officers with families. And he was a “slim jim” master. Gates remembers parking his car downtown to testify in court, then returning to find it wasn’t where he’d left it. “I thought, ‘Holy shit, my car’s gone,’” says Gates. “I thought I was going to have to be that guy who reports his police car stolen.”

But if David’s horseplay endeared him to colleagues, he took a thoughtful approach to his duty as an officer. After a few years in the department, a former employer’s daughter, interested in law enforcement, asked for guidance, and the two exchanged emails. “Think about this,” he wrote. “I had a house on my beat. A lady was raising a boy and a girl. The boy was 10 and the girl was 8. They literally had to pay for lunch and dinner. The mom was so broke she couldn’t afford the food, so if the kids wanted to eat they had to pay her!!! The boy was out stealing and selling things. Do you know any of your friends who have had to do that? … That is how this job will change you. It changes your black and white outlook to a grayness.”

Danger—the danger that led to the police funerals he attended as a child, the danger that made his parents buy burial plots, the danger that placed him in a kill-or-be-killed shoot-out—wasn’t something David talked about. The job wasn’t about catching bad guys; it was about making people’s lives safer. But he wasn’t naive.

“We can’t help everyone, and if you try you will be beat down emotionally,” he wrote. “There will always be bad people.”

On January 22, 2011, at around 5 a.m., a 60-year-old ex-con named Thomas Hardy pulled into the Mallard Cove apartment complex, off of North Shadeland Avenue. According to witness statements, he walked into an apartment to smoke crack cocaine. At some point, he and a man in the apartment named Eric “Boo” Jenkins struck a deal: Hardy would trade a crack rock for Boo’s Bersa .380 semi-automatic handgun. Hardy wanted to settle a beef with another man he claimed had cheated him out of $100.

On January 23, at around 5:30 a.m., David left the IMPD’s North District headquarters, on East 30th Street, to start his patrol. It was his second morning on the day shift. He had requested the new assignment because he preferred the schedule to the overnight hours of the middle shift—done by 2 p.m., with the rest of the day to do what he wanted. He had called his mom after that first day. “I think I’m going to like this shift,” he said.

At close to 9 a.m., David was driving down East 34th Street when he followed a gold-colored Camry onto North Temple Avenue, into a modest working-class neighborhood. David flipped on the flashing lights, and the Camry came to a stop; no one knows why the car caught his attention. “The hardest thing I face is a traffic stop,” David once wrote to his young email friend. “Regardless of how rough an area is there are always good people who live there. Honest hard-working people. I make a lot of good arrests off of the simplest traffic stops you can imagine.” David pulled up behind the car and ran the plates, then got out of his cruiser and walked up to the driver’s-side window.

A few blocks away, officer Matthew Mielke was pulling out of the parking lot of North District headquarters when he heard gunshots. Then a voice came over the radio. Officer down in the 3400 block of North Temple. Mielke rushed to the scene. Moore’s police cruiser was parked at an angle to the curb. The lights were still flashing. In front of the car, on the snow-covered street, lay the rumpled figure of a uniformed police officer. Mielke called in the medics, then ran over and kneeled down beside the officer. It was David Moore. He was lying on his side, not moving. His pulse was fading. Another officer arrived, and the two of them gingerly rolled David over onto his back. That’s when they saw that he had been shot in the head and neck area. His gun was still in its holster.

When medics arrived, David was still alive. But just barely. They cut off the front of his bullet-resistant vest, loaded him into the ambulance, and, led by a police escort, rushed him downtown to Wishard Hospital. Another officer helped remove and secure David’s gun. One of the medics handed the officer a .38-caliber slug that had fallen out of David’s clothing.

Back on Temple Street, investigators swarmed over the scene to try to figure out what had happened. The plate number of the Camry was still up on the monitor of the laptop computer in David’s cruiser. It turned out the car had been reported stolen about a month earlier. A crime-scene specialist found seven spent .38-caliber shell casings and one .38-caliber slug on the ground near where David had fallen. Police interviewed neighbors on the block, and a blind man who lived nearby told them he had heard four gunshots, a pause, then three more. Another neighbor had looked out the window of her house to see an officer lying in the street and a gold-colored car speeding away.

About an hour later, the manager of a southside Dollar General store called the police to report that a man had just carried several bags of Cheetos to the counter, then pulled a handgun on the clerk and swiped $101 from the register. The clerk said he was wearing tan slacks, dress shoes, and a black leather jacket with a fur-lined hood. He had left a bag of Cheetos on the counter.

Although it’s not clear why, police soon turned their attention to a man named Thomas Hardy. They found an address, just a few blocks from the Dollar General robbery. There, Hardy’s niece told investigators that he had called her that morning from a number that turned out to be a downtown pay phone in Circle Centre mall. Detectives checked the mall’s surveillance tapes and saw a man who matched the description of the robber. They later found the Camry parked in the garage of the JW Marriott hotel a few blocks away. Surveillance videos showed that the same man who had robbed the dollar store and used the mall pay phone had left the car there at around 10:15 a.m. Later that afternoon, a crime-lab examiner found fingerprints on the Cheetos bag left behind at the dollar-store robbery. They were a match with Thomas Hardy.

As detectives tracked Hardy’s movements on the morning of the shooting, a federal law-enforcement agency contacted police to let them know they had received a tip from an informant named Penny Torrence. At close to 5:30 that evening, a team of IMPD officers surrounded Torrence’s near-westside home, looking for Hardy. They ordered Hardy to come out. When police took Hardy and Torrence into custody, she told them to go into the house and look inside a green bag. When they returned with a warrant, they found a Bersa .380 semi-automatic handgun.

Torrence told detectives that Hardy had showed up at her house at around 9:30 that morning. He had asked for money. She didn’t have any. So he told her he was going to go get some. When he returned, he had cash, and he said it had come from the dollar store. He told Torrence he needed to ditch the car because police were looking for it.

She asked Hardy what he had done. He said a cop had pulled him over that morning and walked up to his car. He said he had a gun he had picked up at Boo’s place. Hardy was on parole, and if the cop found the gun, he would go back to prison. So, he said, he put a round in the chamber and switched off the safety. Then, he told her, “One thing led to another.”

David had been shot six times—twice in the face. Two bullets hit him in the leg; another struck his ammunition pouch. It appeared that his bullet-resistant vest had stopped at least one shot from penetrating his torso—the round was still lodged in the vest when David was found.

David’s parents stood sentry at the hospital and held news conferences to address the public’s concerns over David’s condition. Worried IMPD officers hung around the hospital lobby at all hours of the day and night. Across the city, people who knew David, and many more who didn’t, prayed for his survival. Close to 300 showed up for a vigil at a church near where he was shot.

On Tuesday, January 25, a hospital MRI indicated that David would not regain consciousness. That evening, IMPD chief Paul Ciesielski convened a news conference to announce that David’s parents had decided to take him off life support. He would be the first officer in the newly organized department to be killed in the line of duty. IOPO staffers rushed to identify potential organ recipients. In David’s room, nurses moved him over on his bed, so Jo could lie next to him during his last hours.

Officer David Moore was pronounced dead at Wishard Hospital at 6:18 a.m. on Wednesday, January 26, 2011. Because he had been in such peak physical condition, and because the bullet-resistant vest had protected his chest and abdomen, doctors were able to recover his lungs, heart, liver, and both kidneys. Although his fatal head wounds had left his eyes intact, IOPO staffers feared that recovering any tissue from the neck up might interfere with the autopsy. At the last minute, the coroner’s office gave the okay to remove and transplant both corneas as well.

That afternoon, Lance Lewis received his phone call, and late that night he went into surgery. The procedure would last nearly nine hours. Before going to the hospital, Lance had followed the young policeman’s shooting, and he had a hunch that he was getting the officer’s lungs. It was one of many thoughts that ran through his mind as he lay on his side waiting for the anesthesia to take hold.

Some of the family members who waited out Lance’s surgery at the hospital shared his speculation about the donor, and they chatted about it to help pass the time. “I told my daughter, Angie, ‘I wish everybody would stop talking about the officer, because we don’t know whose lungs these are,’” says Cathy. “But she said, ‘I don’t care. I’m going to believe they’re the officer’s lungs.’ To her, it just made sense.”

“I told my daughter, Angie, ‘I wish everybody would stop talking about the officer, because we don’t know whose lungs these are,” says Cathy.

Cathy got phone calls throughout the early morning from a transplant coordinator. “They just put him on his side,” he told Cathy. Then, “They’re getting ready to take out the right lung—he’s doing great.” Then, “The right lung is out, and the new one is in. We’re getting ready to flip him over.” Calls every hour, until the last call, well after daybreak. “Everything went well,” the coordinator said. “He got a really good set of lungs.”

When Lance awoke, his belief that the donor must have been the policeman remained. IOPO keeps all organ donor and recipient information strictly confidential, but Lance knew that, someday, he needed to meet the family that lost a son in giving him new life.

Months after David’s death, Jo Moore composed seven handwritten letters. She didn’t know who would read them, only that they had received David’s organs. She wanted the people who carried around parts of him to know what kind of man he had been, how much he had meant to her.

IOPO delivered the letters, and Lance got one of them a few days later. “I am so glad you received David’s lungs,” she wrote. “I admire your strength and courage to be an organ recipient. We pray that you live your life and enjoy what the future brings.”

Lance began to handwrite a reply, until he realized that the tremors in his extremities, caused by medication he took to prevent his body from rejecting David’s lungs, made the words illegible. So he typed. “Words cannot express how blessed I am to have been entrusted with David’s lungs,” he wrote. “I will cherish, protect, and use them to their fullest. Your family’s gift of love has given me a new life for which I will always be grateful.” He told her he hoped they would meet one day.

As Jo and Spencer Moore began the process of coming to terms with their loss, authorities moved swiftly to impose justice on the man accused of pulling the trigger. On January 27, a day after David Moore was removed from life support, Marion County prosecutors charged Hardy with murder, robbery, and unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon. A few weeks later, they filed a request for the death sentence.

Hardy has a long rap sheet, mostly property crimes and drug offenses, accumulated over several decades. Hardy’s niece, who helped investigators locate him before his arrest, told The Indianapolis Star that the crime he now stands accused of “is not in my uncle’s character.” In a written statement, his attorneys, Ray Casanova and Monica Foster, wrote that “Thomas Hardy, like all Americans accused of crime, is presumed innocent,” and, they continued, “there are many aspects of what happened that are not at all what they seem at first blush.”

At press time, Hardy’s trial was scheduled for October 1, 2012, and it is far too early in the proceedings to predict an outcome. But it probably won’t be a cut-and-dried case. In ballistic tests, the pistol that Thomas Hardy allegedly used to shoot David Moore “slam-fired”—a malfunction that causes a gun to discharge a round without the trigger being pulled. Denise Robinson, a deputy prosecuting attorney, says the matter is “still under investigation.” Depending on how that investigation plays out, the malfunction could leave the defense room to argue that Hardy hadn’t intended to fire the gun as many times as it went off—or at all. But even Hardy’s lawyers, it seems, are saddened by David Moore’s fate. “There is one thing with which we will not disagree with the prosecutor,” they wrote. “Officer David Moore was a good police officer and an extraordinary human being whose life was taken from us far too soon.”

Sadly, none of this might have happened, if not for a simple administrative error. Hardy was arrested in 2010 on felony theft charges, while he was still on parole for an earlier theft conviction. Had Thomas Hardy’s parole officer performed a routine arrest check, as policy dictated, she likely would have requested that the parole board send him back to prison. Instead, on December 21, 2010—about a month before David Moore was shot—Thomas Hardy walked out of jail.

It’s a crisp, fall afternoon, and Lance and Cathy Lewis have come to visit Spencer and Jo Moore at their northside home. It is just around the block from where David used to live—his sister, Carol, moved into his house after he died, and his parents later bought a place nearby. Since their first meeting in May, the Lewises and Moores have continued to get together. It feels right to them, somehow. They share stories about their grandchildren. They tell jokes and make fun of one another. And they marvel at how much they have in common.

The Moores raised their family just a short distance from the southside home where the Lewises raised theirs. When Lance was David’s age, he was also a law-enforcement officer, with the Marion County Sheriff’s Department. When Jo was in the hospital delivering David, Cathy was in the very same hospital, delivering her son Aaron. There is a lot to talk about.

They gather for lunch in the Moores’ kitchen and talk about Lance’s recovery. “He’s doing so well, it’s like having a new husband,” Cathy says. “He looks different. His color is different. I smile every day, just looking at him.” Her joy, she admits, is tempered by a kind of survivor’s guilt that her family’s blessing arose from another family’s heartbreak.

Lance says that before the transplant, he always felt that people were giving him disapproving looks, like when they’d see Cathy loading heavy groceries into the car, while he stood by watching. “I couldn’t help but think, all those people standing around were wondering, ‘Why in the world is he making her unload that car while he’s standing there like a lazy bum?’” he says.

Cathy once told Spencer that it used to be easy to find Lance when she needed him, because he was always on the couch. “Now she has to go to the front door, the back door, down the street, the park—because he’s out mowing the lawn, riding his bike, up on the roof,” Spencer says. “Now, she can’t keep up.” He jokes that when Lance is driving behind a car that runs a stop sign, he has a strange urge to pull it over.

Jo brags about how Lance recently finished a 12-mile bike ride. Sometimes when she looks at Lance, she beams, and her eyes well up. She likes to call the heart-shaped scars around Lance’s shoulder blades, from the incisions where doctors opened his body cavity, his “angel wings.”

After lunch, Spencer and Jo take Lance and Cathy on a walk through the neighborhood to show them a stone memorial to David that neighbors have placed in a front yard. They point out the house of two women, raising a son, who liked David coming over to spend time with their boy because he was a good male role model. Over there is the home of an older woman who called David frequently to tell him about goings-on in the neighborhood; having him nearby made her feel safe. Along the way, flags and other tributes to David dot house after house, yard after yard. He had only lived in the neighborhood for a few years, and somehow he seems to have known everyone.

On the way home, Spencer falls back to walk beside Lance.

“I’m 12 years older than Jo,” he says. “I always figured David would be there to take care of his mother when I am gone. When you have a son, you imagine what he’s going to accomplish. I saw David being in a high leadership position in the department some day. Now that he’s gone, it leaves a hole.”

Lance doesn’t say anything for a moment. His eyes redden a little, and he takes a deep breath—something he had not been able to do for a very long time.

For information about the Officer David S. Moore Foundation, visit www.davidsmoorefoundation.org.
Donations can be mailed to:
Officer David S. Moore Foundation
PO Box 39284
Indianapolis, IN  46239

An update from Lance Lewis

November 27, 2013

The three years since my double lung transplant have been amazing. For me at least, the transplant did not allow me to return to my old life…I never had this life. This is something completely new.

Cycling in Indiana, Kentucky and Montana, stair climbs in Indianapolis (35 stories) and Chicago (103 stories), walking along the Las Vegas strip in 117 degree weather, and zip lining over the Gallatin River in Montana. None of these things would have even been considered, let alone possible, without my transplant.

Although the relationship we have with my donor family is our only experience and seems normal to us, we are keenly aware that it is anything but normal. Many recipients attempt to contact their donor family with no response. I have been blessed with a donor family who encourages contact, and who have opened their hearts and lives to us without limitation. As a result, a whole new world of friends and relationships has blossomed.

We have had the opportunity to encourage other transplant patients through our local transplant support group and to speak to individuals and groups about the importance of organ donation. As a volunteer for the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization, I have spoken to such diverse groups as hospital executive committees, and third shift emergency room nurses. At one meeting, I was able to speak to some of the nurses who had cared for my donor in the ICU. They had no idea who I was until the end of my talk, and it was a very powerful moment.

No one knows where this journey will ultimately lead, but I am thrilled to be on the trip and have no regrets about the decision to pursue a transplant.

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Lance thin and ill prior to transplant surgerylance lewis cropped

Lance on his way to get new lungsHeaded to Transplant Jan 26 2011

Lance and Joanna Moore after 5 K Walklance and Joanne Moore after 5 k walk

Lance and Grand Children Reid and Morgan Lewislance and grandchildren Reid and Morgan Lewis

He climbed the stairs of the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower, Chicago’s tallest building and one of the tallest buildings in America.Willis Tower Climb 2012

And…he took on a Montana Zip LineZip Line in Montana 2013

Here’s a disturbing number  60% .  60% of Americans are NOT organ donors.  That means that only four out of every ten people is a donor and that’s why thousands of Americans die every year.  And…more and more will die because the gap between available organs and those who need them grows daily. This isn’t happening because Americans don’t care.  Polls show we overwhelmingly support donation.  It is happening because we don’t see the urgency and don’t get around to signing up and the result is 20,000 perfectly transplantable organs are buried every year.  Don’t take your organs to the grave when so many gravely ill people need them.

There are millions of other Lance Lewis’ in America.  They may need other organs but they are all suffering and are all facing death.  20 people will died today because of the organ shortage.  20 more will die the next day…and the next day too.  Save a life or maybe save many lives by becoming an organ/tissue donor right now.  Up to 60 people can benefit from each donor so don’t hesitate a moment longer.  Go to http://www.donate.life.net right now and sign up.  It takes just seconds.  Then, be sure to tell your family your wishes so there is no confusion when the time comes.

Give the gift of life. There is no nobler action you can take.

Bob AronsonBob Aronson is a 2007 heart transplant recipient who founded both Bob’s Newheart and Facebook’s Organ Transplant Initiative (OTI).  The Newheart blog has 200 others posts that cover a wide range of subjects that may be of help to you or someone you love.  We also invite you to visit and join OTI a group of well over 3,000 members who share experiences, help each other and provide invaluable information to make daily living a little bit easier.

Prayers and Words of Faith For Patients, Families and Friends


tweety bird prayer cartoon

Introduction by Bob Aronson

One thing that all transplant patients, caregivers, donors, donor families and many friends have in common is health care institutions.  We all spend inordinate amounts of time in them for blood tests, X-rays, bone tests, MRIs and ECGs along with endless paperwork. At some point you begin to feel like the little steel ball in a pin-ball machine that keeps bouncing off barriers and then being propelled in strange directions away from the prize which, in our case, is the gift of life.  The only thing missing is the familiar “Ding, ding, ding” sound made as the little ball moves across and around the board.

With all that going on for both pre and post-transplant patients it is easy to get frustrated, frightened and in need of guidance and support.  Many turn to prayer and almost every hospital has a chapel, somewhere you can go that is quiet and lends itself to prayer and/or meditation.

The stress of the situations we find ourselves in often leaves us in need of the right words to use.  Some will say God doesn’t care about words but others feel the need for direction so we searched the internet for some ideas and found about three dozen that seemed appropriate to a number of situations.  The prayers included here come from all the major religions.  Some are sect specific others are general in nature.

I have also included a couple of inspirational stories and some favorite prayers or devotions from some of my friends. This list favors no denomination nor does it suggest that you must worship in any particular way or form.  It has been published as an aide to those who find themselves in need of strength from a source outside of themselves.

You may not use any of these prayers as they are written but perhaps you’ll find a phrase here, a sentence there and a thought somewhere else that together help you form a new prayer that fits your particular needs.  We hope this post offers you the guidance you seek.

Jewish prayers for the ill

May the One who blessed our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, bless and heal the one who is ill: ____ son/daughter of ____. May the Holy One, the fount of blessings, shower  abundant mercies upon him/her, fulfilling his/her dreams of healing, strengthening him/her with the power of life.

Merciful one, restore him/her, heal him/her, strengthen him/her, enliven him/her. Send him/her a complete healing from the heavenly realm, a healing of body and a healing of soul, together with all who are ill soon, speedily, without delay; and let us say: Amen!

Translation by National Center for Jewish Healing

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Bless those in need of healing With refu-ah sh’lei-ma,  The renewal of body, The renewal of spirit, And let us say: Amen

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Strengthen me, Holy One, on my journey through illness; Steady my steps on this difficult path. Bring me through signposts of remedies and therapies, Secure in Your guidance as I face these changes You are my Strength and my Hope, The Author of my healing. You are my Promise and my Courage, guiding my helpers as I move toward healing.

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Guard the encouragement  of simple improvements, Every day praising Your loving concern. Make me Your partner, Divine Physician, Restoring me for Your Name’s sake. From Flames to Heaven: New Psalms for Healing and Praise ©1998 by Debbie Perlman.

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A Prayer Before Surgery

I am scared, God. I feel vulnerable.  I don’t like feeling helpless. I am worried. So before my surgery I pray:

I place my body and soul in Your hands.

Please watch over me, God, in the operating

room. Stay beside me. Never leave me.

Strengthen my will to live. Enlighten my

doctors and nurses with the skill, wisdom and

insight to mend and cure me properly. Let this

procedure go smoothly without complication.

Watch over my loved ones who are worrying

about me now. Remind me that I am

resilient. That I can and will grow stronger

each day. Bless me, God, with Your healing

power, protect me from all harm, shield me

from pain. And when I wake, God, give me the

courage and passion to fight for the sacred

treasure You have granted me: my life. Amen.

From

Talking to God

by Naomi Levy, ©2002 by Naomi

Levy. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division

of Random House, Inc

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A prayer for healing

God, hear my prayer,
And let my cry come to You.
Do not hide from me in the day of my distress
Turn to me and speedily answer my prayer.
Eternal God, Source of healing,
Out of my distress I call upon You.
Help me sense Your presence
At this difficult time.
Grant me patience when the hours are heavy;
In hurt or disappointment give me courage.
Keep me trustful in Your love.
Give me strength for today, and hope for tomorrow.
To your loving hands I commit my spirit
When asleep and when awake. You are with me; I shall not fear.

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Prayer for healing
Hear my prayer, O Lord, heed my plea for mercy.
In time of trouble I call You, for You will answer me.
When pain and illness are my companions, let there be room in my heart for strength.
When the days and nights are filled with darkness, let the light of courage find its place.
Help me endure the suffering and dissolve the fear; renew within me the calm spirit of trust and peace.
Boruch Atah Adonai, Ro-fei HaCholim
We praise you, O God, Healer of the Sick

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Simplest of all prayers.  When Moses’ sister, Miriam, is struck by disease, Moses offers the shortest prayer in the Hebrew Bible:

“Eil na rafa na la.”

“Please, God, please heal her.”

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Islamic prayer for healing

Oh Allah! The Sustainer of Mankind! Remove the illness, cure the disease. You are the One Who cures. There is no cure except Your cure. Grant us a cure that leaves no illness. (Recommended to touch the area of pain with the right hand while reciting this supplication.)

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From Organ Transplant Initiative (OTI) member Cari Rennie:

“When I am in physical pain or suffering, my lips repeat the words “Christ be with me” over and over.”

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Non-denominational prayer for everyone

Oh Almighty! May everybody be happy!
May all be free from ailments!
May we see what is auspicious!
May no one be subject to miseries!
Oh Almighty! May there be a Peace! Peace! Peace! Everywhere.

Rigveda 4:11:51 – india – 3700 b.c.e.

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From friend Bob Huck a prayer for inner peace:

“Dear Lord let the flood of your compassion overwhelm me with peace in my soul when you take me in your arms while I know such awful fear and am in such terrible pain. Teach me and the ones I love of your presence in these trials and let us all see your victory over every earthly trial”

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Also from Bob Huck, thank you lord

Dear Lord, I am thankful for all of the worldly gifts you give me and trials as well. Both strengthen me. Your promise of grace and sanctification is a pure and beautiful expression of your infinite love for me no matter my circumstances. But sometimes Lord, I just suffer and forget your end plan for me. It is in these times that I trust that you are there for me in my earthly weakness even if I don’t say it in prayer I know it in my heart. I know your peace will pass all understanding. So I trust your plan for me even if it looks like I have forgotten it in times of trial. Thank you Father, for allowing me to trust your plans.

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Reverence for life – Dr. Albert Schweitzer – 1964

Dear God, protect and bless all living beings.
Keep them from evil and let them sleep in peace.

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While not a prayer, this passage can give comfort and serenity to those who are suffering.  Isaiah 41:10

New International Version (NIV)

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

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Baha’i prayers – bahá’u’lláh

O my God! O my God!
Unite the hearts of Thy servants,
and reveal to them Thy great purpose.
May they follow Thy commandments
and abide in Thy law.
Help them, O God, in their endeavor,
and grant them strength to serve Thee. O God!
Leave them not to themselves
but guide their steps by the light of Thy knowledge,
and cheer their hearts by Thy love.
Verily, Thou art their Helper and their Lord.

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Prayer for comforting

Loving and ever-present God, we believe that your grace is sufficient for all things. Comfort us anew by your presence.  Allow that in our weakness we may be made strong, in our grief, consoled, and in our ignorance, wise.   Protect and guide us that we may know the way to take and that at each crossroad of life we may see the right path to choose. Safeguard us by your power, uphold us your kindness, and warm us by your love. By your divine grace help us to do what is right, to act courageously, to love our neighbors, to forgive our enemies.  By your grace, bless us through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

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From Cousin Karen Wilson Ramsey

Stand By The Lord by Karen Wilson Ramsey

 I stand by the Lord who will help us all.

I stand by the Lord who prevents my fall.

His beautiful spirit brings peace to me.

Let me testify of His love for me and thee.

May all of the storms and the strife of life,

Pass over the door and remove all fright.

Let the river of Gilead wash the fear away,

So that my day will brighten and glorify your way.

I stand by the Lord who will help us all.

I stand by the Lord who prevents my fall.

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 Reflections

by Karen Wilson Ramsey

 May the sun keep shining

While God’s love is binding

Your spirit to all you encounter.

May the news of His love

Always pour from above

To shower the spiritual hunter.

May the light of His face

GLow brightly in each place

Your feet are forced to walk.

May the Lord’s Hallowed Glow

Shine through the hole

Of the Devil’s heavy road block.

The scriptures you read

Will be all you need

While prayers, faith, and a smile

Will buoy you all the while

You are crossing the Nile.

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A prayer poem by Edna Fontaine

 WHISPERS OF THE HEART

Today I thank You, Lord,

For all the joys You bring –

For rainbows in the sky –

For flowers in the spring –

For warmth of gentle rain

That falls from up above –

For wealth of little prayers

That fill my need for love –

For friends who fail me not

When I am in some need,

When my despair is plain to see,

Are there my soul to feed.

You are so kind and gentle, Lord,

Forgive the faults in me

And keep me ever close to You

Until I come to Thee.   based on Rev. 15:3

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Prayer for strength

Holy God, sometimes things are really difficult for us especially when we have to face our humanness in a way that is not necessarily comfortable for us. Thank you for being present with us and helping us to look at our living and our dying. Remind us when we are fearful of death that You will be there with us each step of the way.  Help our family members and those we love as they try to deal with what is happening as well.  Let Your love and presence be felt as we express our fears, our concerns, and our mortality.  Help us to always to remember that through our faith in You, we can live and we can die.  We pray these prayers with the assurance of the love and compassion that your Son, Jesus Christ, has shown to us throughout our lives. We know that Jesus will be there to welcome our souls into God’s presence.  Amen.

From A Clergy Guide to End-of-Life Issues / Martha R. Jacobs

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Prayer for mourners

Venerable and hallowed are the memories of those who have died.  We recall them with warmth and affection, grateful to G0d for the gift of their lives, for their faithful companionship, and for the cherished reminiscences which endure. May God comfort all who mourn. May God grant them strength to see beyond their sorrow, and sustain them in their grief. In solemn testimony to that unbroken faith which links our generations one to another, those observing Yahrzeit and those who mourn now take a silent minute to contemplate their faith in God, to magnify and sanctify God’s holy name. Amen

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(Adapted from the mourner’s Kaddish)

There are often times, O God, when I feel alone, and yet I know in my heart that I am never alone. You are always there waiting for me to speak to You of my desires, hopes and dreams.

Yet how seldom do I reach out to You to voice my gratitude for all that is beautiful in my life… all the gifts of my life. Love, family, friendship, have come from You.
But the greatest gift of all is Your presence, which time and again has given me strength, faith and courage.

Now, in the midst of doubt and confusion, I need to know that You are beside me in the depth of my being. With You there, I know I am not alone – ever.
My Friend, my strength, my God. From Gates of Healing ©1988 by Central Conference of American Rabbis.

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From Friend Andre Armstrong:

Here’s a prayer or devotional often credited to Mother Teresa. She wasn’t the original author, but posted it in her room. It’s one of my favorites.

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.

-0-

Muslim prayer for those suffering loss

Exceed not in your religion the bounds of what is proper, trespassing beyond the truth, nor follow the vain desires of people who went wrong in times gone by—who misled many and strayed themselves from the even way. (The Holy Qur’an, Surah 5:77)

In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful.  Praise be to Allah, the cherisher and sustainer of the worlds, most gracious, most merciful. Master of the Day of Judgment, you do we worship, and your aid do we seek. Show us the straight way: the way of those on whom you have bestowed your grace. We humbly ask that you shower blessings and restore peace to all those suffering loss, and grant all people wisdom and compassion.  Amen

-0-

Prayer of Beautiful Memories

A bouquet of beautiful memories,
Sprayed with a million tears,
Wishing God could have
spared you,
If just for a few more years.
It does not take a special day,
For us to think of you,
Each Mass we hear,
Each prayer we say,
Is offered up for you.
We cannot bring the old days back,
When we were all together,
Our family chain is broken now,
But memories live for ever

-0-

Helen Keller and God.

This is a true story of Helen Keller not long after she learned to hear through someone writing on her palm:

One day she asked her guardian/tutor to tell her about God. So as best she could the guardian/tutor began to try explain the Lord to her deaf, dumb and blind charge about the nature of God and Jesus and Their work in the world. After quite a long time and great struggle to find the right words the guardian/tutor finished and asked Helen if she understood what was told to her. Her response was, “I always knew God, I just did not know what He looked like.”

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Buddhist Blessing and Healing Chant

Just as the soft rains fill the streams, pour into the rivers and join together in the oceans, so may the power of every moment of your goodness flow forth to awaken and heal all beings, Those here now, those gone before, those yet to come.

By the power of every moment of your goodness…
May your heart’s wishes be soon fulfilled, as completely shining as the bright full moon, as magically as by a wish-fulfilling gem.
May all dangers be averted and all disease be gone.
May no obstacle come across your way.
May you enjoy fulfillment and long life.

For all in whose heart dwells respect, who follow the wisdom and compassion of the Way, May your life prosper in the four blessings, of old age, beauty, happiness and strength.

-0-

From Heaven’s Inspirations, A letter from God

Good morning,

As you got up I watched and hoped you would talk
to me. Just a few words, such as thanking me for
something good in your life yesterday or last
week, would do.

But I noticed you were busy selecting the right
clothes for work. I waited again to hear from you.
When you ran around the house collecting papers,
I knew there would be a few minutes to stop and
say hello, but you never slowed down.

I wanted to tell you that I could help you
accomplish more than you ever dreamed possible
if you would just spend some of each day with me.
At one point you waited fifteen minutes in a chair
with nothing to do. I waited to hear from you.

Then I saw you spring to your feet; I thought
you wanted to talk to me, but you ran to the
phone and called a friend. I watched as off
to work you went and waited patiently all day
long to hear from you. With all your activities
you were too busy to talk with me.

I noticed at lunch you looked around; maybe you
just felt embarrassed to talk to me. You glanced
three tables over and noticed some of your friends
talking to me before they ate, but you wouldn’t.

There was still more time left, and I hoped that we
would talk. You went home and had many things to do.
After they were done, you turned on the TV; just
about anything goes there and you spend many hours
watching. I waited as you continued watching TV and
ate your meal but again you wouldn’t talk to me.

At bedtime you were totally tired. After you said
good night to your family you plopped into bed and
fell asleep. I had so much wanted to be part of your
day. We could have had so much fun and accomplished
so much together.

I love you so much that I wait everyday for a thought,
prayer or thanks. Well, maybe tomorrow! I’ll be waiting.

Your Friend,

God

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Nondenominational Prayers for Healing

These four nondenominational prayers for healing have been selected by the pastoral care staff at the UCSF/Mount Zion Medical Center.

My God and God of all generations, in my great need I pour out my heart to you. Long days and weeks of suffering are hard to endure. In my struggle, I reach out for the help that only you can give. Let me feel that you are near, and that your care enfolds me. Rouse me with the strength to overcome my weakness, and brighten my spirit with the assurance of your love. Help me to sustain the hopes of my loved ones as they strive to strengthen and encourage me. May the healing power you have placed within me give me the strength to recover so I may fulfill my journey in the Divine Plan.

In sickness I turn to you, O God, as a child turns to a parent for comfort and help. Strengthen within me the wondrous power of healing that you have implanted in your children. Guide my doctors and nurses, that they may speed my recovery. Let the knowledge of your love comfort my loved ones, lighten their burdens and renew their faith. May my sickness not weaken my faith in you, nor diminish my love for other human beings. From my illness may I gain a truer appreciation of life’s gifts, a deeper awareness of life’s blessings, and a fuller sympathy for all who are in pain.

Send me, O God, your healing, so that I may quickly recover from the illness that has come upon me. Sustain my spirit, relieve my pain and restore me to perfect health, happiness and strength. Grant unto my body your healing power so I may continue to be able to bear testimony to your everlasting mercy and love, for you, O Lord, art a faithful and merciful healer.

-0-

Prayer to be at Peace

Do not fear the changes of life–
Rather look to them with full hope as they arise.
God, whose very own you are,
Will deliver you from out of them.
He has kept you hitherto,
And He will lead you safely through all things;
And when you cannot stand it,
God will bury you in His arms.
Do not be afraid of what may happen tomorrow;
The same everlasting Father who cares for you today
Will take care of you then and every day.
He will either shield you from suffering,
Or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at Peace–
And put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.
–St. Francis de Sales

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A prayer for aging with dignity

I don’t want to grow old God. I don’t want any part of it. But since I have no power to stop the clock, my prayer is this: Let me age with grace.

Show me the way, God. Be with me. Grant health to my body and clarity to my mind. Give me strength. Help me to overcome my vanity. Teach me to combat self-pity. Don’t allow me to become set in my ways. Shield me from isolation and from loneliness.

May the love of my family and friends be my reward for all the struggles of my youth.

Let all the blessings of age emanate from me. Let wisdom flow from my mouth, let compassion flow from my heart, let acts of kindness flow from my arms, let faith flow from my soul, let joy shine forth from my eyes. Amen.

-0-

A morning prayer

There are so many things I take for granted. May I not ignore them today.

Just for today, help me, God, to remember that my life is a gift, that my health is a blessing, that this new day is filled with awesome potential, that I have the capacity to bring something wholly new and unique and good into this world.’

Just for today, help me, God, to remember to be kind and patient to the people who love me, and to those who work with me too. Teach me to see all the beauty that I so often ignore, and to listen to the silent longing of my own soul.

Just for today, help me, God, to remember You.

Let this be a good day, God, full of joy and love. Amen.

-0-

A prayer for the body

Thank You, God, for the body You have given me. Most of the time I take my health for granted. I forget how fortunate I am to live without pain or disability, how blessed I am to be able to see and hear and walk and eat. I forget that this body of mine, with all its imperfections is a gift from You.

When I am critical of my appearance, remind me, God, that I am created in Your holy image. If I become jealous of someone else’s appearance, teach me to treasure my unique form.

Help me, God, to care for my body. Teach me to refrain from any action that will bring harm to me. If I fall prey to a self-destructive habit, fill me with the strength to conquer my cravings.

Lead me to use my body wisely, God. Guide my every limb, God, to perform acts of compassion and kindness.

I thank You, God, for creating me as I am. Amen.

-0-

A blessing for healing (for physical and spiritual healing that can be said with the laying on of hands)

May God heal your body and soul.

May your pain cease,

May your strength increase,

May your fears be released,

May blessings, love, and joy surround you.

Amen.

-0-

Prayer for Common Ground

Today, may I be open to others’ ideas and beliefs,
respectful of our differences, not threatened by them.
May I grow in understanding of my own motives,
knowing that people often act out of their own fears.
May I be a force for replacing fear with insight,
helping us all to be patient and kind as we talk.
Strength, real strength, can always find compromise,
working together, may we find a common ground,
enable us to move forward with a shared purpose.
May we see what is truly important and unites us,
focusing on that, to banish road blocks of ego and fear,
today, may I be open to others’ ideas and beliefs.

-0-

Healing Blessing

Bless this day with healing, bless it with
radiant sun energy, fill each cell of the body,
bringing a flood of healthy energy to all the body,
banishing illness & disease, as healing grows.

May the abundant powers of health flourish within,
each day, may they expand & grow stronger,
bringing the gifts of vitality, strength & wellbeing,
Blessings flow now with ample energy & happiness.

-0-

A Healing Prayer for a Child

Heal this child & bring wellness
remove disease & banish germs
strengthen this child’s immune system
the gift of health is needed now.
Bless this loving child

-0-

Prayer for a Sick Child

Bless this sick child who struggles,
radiant healing energy is needed now,
amplify this child’s courage & immunity
bless this child’s family with hope.

Bless this sick child who struggles,
each day this child can grow stronger.
May healing move within, banishing illness,
as radiant energy renews the life force.

Bless this sick child who struggles,
health begins to return, even before it can be seen,
May this child grow steadily stronger, Bless this child.

-0-

Affirmation for a Sick Child

May this child grow strong and healthy
with each breath, each moment, healing grows,
illness recedes, grows weaker and fades away.

Health is growing stronger and more vibrant now,
new fluids enter each cell, bringing healthy balance,
toxins are carried away & released through sweat.

Breath brings in healing energy, feeding the blood,
healthy blood flows, cleansing itself, renewing itself,
feeding all of this child’s body with needed strength,
this child is growing strong, healing is underway.

-0-

Prayer for Healing Laughter

Bless me with laughter and an easy smile
May I put away cares more easily, and relax
May I know the great healing powers of laughter
May I see that laughter makes all things better
Laughter moves through the body, healing and repairing,
Soothing, calming and replenishing, body and spirit
Bless me with laughter, now and always.

Copyright Abby Willowroot 2009

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Blessing of Exercise

I walk and my heart grows strong
each day there is time to work my muscles
each day there is a hunger in my body, to move,
to work, to stretch, to renew, to balance.

Bless this day with the health exercise brings me,
habits change and evolve as I embrace my own strength
to grow, to change, to thrive, to live.

-0-

Invocation of Health

I call upon health to fill me now,
in every muscle, every bone, every organ,
in every cell, every molecule of my body,
my body is moving toward healthy balance,
in every thought, every action, every choice,
I am supporting my body, mind & spirit in health,
living today and everyday with active awareness
that health is a radiant, bright gift, to be treasured

-0-

Blessing of Time Granted

I am ever grateful for the gift of more time.
I thought my time was over, my days complete,
then a miracle came and my time was exttended.
Choices await my wise use of this precious time,
may I ever be grateful for the time and use it well,
aware that each new day is a gift to be treasured,
each new experience is an unexpected blessing,
may I use them carefully, wisely and well,
using part of my time to love, laugh & feel joy.
I have new chances to expand my awareness,
to grow my spirit in compassion and understanding.
Bless this day, this hour, this minute, this moment.
I am ever grateful for the gift of more time.

-0-

An Alzheimers Prayer

Bless me with courage and time.
May I accept the ravages of this disease,
knowing that as time passes, memories will pass too,
may I celebrate each moment of clarity, aware it will fade,
do all I can to stay happy and enjoy this day, today,
being willing to express my feelings to those I love.

May my spirit stay strong, my heart loving,
memory will diminish, may I truly treasure it today,
accepting that life will change, isolating the now,
bringing a time of changes, a time of difficulty,
a time when loved ones will carry my memories.
Bless me on this journey of forgetfulness,
a journey whose destination is peace
Bless me with courage and time.

-0-

Prayer for a Loved One with Alzheimers

Bless this day with clarity and remembering.
May confusion be temporary and fear be minimal,
compassion, understanding and strength be with me
make me accepting of the inevitability of memory loss,
cheerful each day,  as I celebrate what remains sharp,
make me patient with things that cannot be helped,
grateful for each lucid moment spent together,
kindness fill my heart and courage fill my spirit,
each day, may I be a comforting blessing.

-0-

Bob Aronson of Bob’s Newheart is a 2007 heart transplant recipient, the founder of Facebook’s nearly 3,000 member Organ Transplant Initiative and the author of most of these donation/transplantation blogs.

You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at bob@baronson.org. And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.

Please view our new music video “Dawn Anita The Gift of Life” on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYFFJoHJwHs.  This video is free to anyone who wants to use it and no permission is needed. 

If you want to spread the word personally about organ donation, we have another PowerPoint slide show for your use free and without permission. Just email me bob@baronson.org and ask for a copy of “Life, Pass it on.“  This is NOT a stand-alone show; it needs a presenter but is professionally produced and factually sound. If you decide to use the show I will send you a free copy of my e-book, “How to Get a Standing “O” that will help you with presentation skills. 

Also…there is more information on this blog site about other donation/transplantation issues. Additionally we would love to have you join our Facebook group, Organ Transplant Initiative The more members we get the greater our clout with decision makers.

The Purrrfect Anti-Depressants — Furry Friends


puppy loves earsNothing can bring a warm fuzzy feeling to ones heart more quickly than to be awakened from a nap by a wet puppy nose nuzzling your ear or the purring of a feline friend as it glides whisper quiet and ghostly smooth to its favorite spot next to you. girl withcat Animals are amazing creatures, especially those with which we choose to live, to share our lives, cares, experiences, sorrows and victories.

Whatever your preference, whether Alaskan Husky or a calico cat a goat there is something very special about these creatures.  I often will look into the eyes of one of our two dogs and ask, “Who’s in there?  Who are you and why are you so intent on making me happy?”

You see I really believe that someone is in there.  That someone may not be in the form of people we know with human intelligence but rather a soul, a presence a certain goodness that keeps on giving and giving and giving.  However you might describe the inner presence of your favorite animal it is the essence of devotion and friendship and ultimately — love.

It has often been said that when you are down, feeling low and depressed that you should talk about it.  Good advice, but sometimes people aren’t the right listeners.  They will often interrupt, offer advice, get distracted or sometimes even tell you to, “Get over it.”  Your dog or cat will never do any of those things. They will patiently listen as long as you want to talk while looking at you with understanding and compassionate eyes…eyes that make you believe there is someone in there.

This blog is unlike any I’ve ever written.  Mostly I write about medical issues related to organ donation and transplantation.  Rarely do I write about the psychological support we all need whether or not we are transplant patients, recipients, donors, donor families or caregivers.  So today I enter that realm, the realm of animals and how they help us live, give us comfort and pleasure and make our worlds so much better.

For several months following my 2007 heart transplant I suffered from depression.  I know not why I only know that much of my recovery from the affliction was due to our dogs, Reilly and Ziggy, aA soft coated Wheaten and a mini Schnauzer respectively.  As I reflected on that time I thought that perhaps your recovery from whatever it is you are recovering from might be enhanced by some animals.

Reilly and Ziggy.  The Aronson Pups

Reilly and Ziggy posing for camera

“We are just too cute to resist and we’re not even trying yet.”

Today’s post is images and the feelings they generate within you.    I hope these pictures, captions and this blog bring you at least a few moments of joy and warmth and good memories.   Please share it with anyone you choose.  No permission needed.

28

“Don’t ask…just help me down….please?”

 

14

I found it, I love it, it’s mine. What is it?


19

“Cute gets treats…be cuter”

2

I’m a dog. This is what I do best.

87

I’m Ziggy, man’s best friend. Who are you?

84

Darn people are always under foot!

61

“Oh boy…I think he’s going to get all mushy on me”.

92

“What do you mean you can’t walk…I need to be walked”

64

“Oh my goodness, that person looks just like me”

sad dog cropped

“Of course I did it but do you really think you can be mad at me?”

86

“We are cats. There is nothing more divine than to be a cat”

“They put a suit on me because I look like Albert who?”

76

“The are so rich they got a dog to walk us.”

36

“I dunno…I woke up and there they were”

Reilly boosts Charmin sales

“No really, it was like this when I walked in?

82

“Weird…they hit ’em with a stick and then chase ’em and hit ’em again. They they get angry throw the balls and clubs and go home, They say it’s a fun game. I think Tug O’war is fun.”

cat pushes dog

“This gig better pay well because it looks stupid”

85

“As soon as they take this picture I’m chasing you out of the house again!?

ziggy half in half out of basket “I am not getting out….I’m slowly backing in”

73

“They call us dumb animals and then they invent a drinking fountain that hits everything but your mouth”

63

“Wow, 101 Dalmations on big screen TV…Wow!

67

They are so funny…they clean our litter box but think they are in charge…ha ha ha ha”

 

We hope these few pictures helped make your day a little brighter.  Let us know what you think and if you really liked this we may do it again sometime.

Bob’s Newheart encourages readers to comment on each of our blogs and to add resources that they find in their own searches. 

 

Bob Aronson of Bob’s Newheart is a 2007 heart transplant recipient, the founder of Facebook’s nearly 3,000 member Organ Transplant Initiative and the author of most of these donation/transplantation blogs.

You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at bob@baronson.org. And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.

Please view our new music video “Dawn Anita The Gift of Life” on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYFFJoHJwHs.  This video is free to anyone who wants to use it and no permission is needed. 

If you want to spread the word personally about organ donation, we have another PowerPoint slide show for your use free and without permission. Just go to http://www.organti.org and click on “Life Pass It On” on the left side of the screen and then just follow the directions. This is NOT a stand-alone show; it needs a presenter but is professionally produced and factually sound. If you decide to use the show I will send you a free copy of my e-book, “How to Get a Standing “O” that will help you with presentation skills. Just write to bob@baronson.org and usually you will get a copy the same day.

Also…there is more information on this blog site about other donation/transplantation issues. Additionally we would love to have you join our Facebook group, Organ Transplant Initiative The more members we get the greater our clout with decision makers.

En Espanol

Puede comentar en el espacio proporcionado o por correo electrónico sus pensamientos a mí en bob@baronson.org. Y – por favor, difundir la palabra acerca de la necesidad inmediata de más donantes de órganos. No hay nada que puedas hacer lo que es de mayor importancia. Si usted convence a una persona de ser donante de órganos y tejidos puede salvar o afectar positivamente a más de 60 vidas. Algunas de esas vidas pueden ser personas que conoces y amas.

Por favor, consulte nuestro nuevo video musical “Dawn Anita The Gift of Life” en https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYFFJoHJwHs YouTube. Este video es libre para cualquier persona que quiera usarlo y no se necesita permiso.

Si quieres correr la voz acerca de la donación de órganos personalmente, tenemos otra presentación de PowerPoint para su uso libre y sin permiso. Sólo tienes que ir a http://www.organti.org y haga clic en “Life Pass It On” en el lado izquierdo de la pantalla y luego sólo tienes que seguir las instrucciones. Esto no es un espectáculo independiente, sino que necesita un presentador pero es profesionalmente producida y sonido hechos. Si usted decide usar el programa le enviaré una copia gratuita de mi libro electrónico, “Cómo obtener un pie” O “que le ayudará con habilidades de presentación. Sólo tiene que escribir a bob@baronson.org y por lo general usted recibirá una copia del mismo día.

Además … hay más información sobre este sitio de blogs sobre otros donación / trasplante temas. Además nos encantaría que te unas a nuestro grupo de Facebook, la Iniciativa de Trasplante de Órganos Cuantos más miembros que obtenemos mayor será nuestra influencia con los tomadores de decisiones.

60 More Inspirational Quotes to Help Make Your Day a Better One


Post by Bob Aronson

Quotes by people a lot smarter than Bob

This is blog number 179 and it was inspired by you, our readers.  Sometime back I published 76 inspirational  quotes and it became one of our most popular posts.  Even today it tops the list of what people are searching for on our blog site. 

People like to feel good and better yet they like to make other people feel good so here’s another 50 or so great quotes to brighten your day and perhaps to brighten the days of those near and dear to you.

One of my favorite quotations is from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam 

“Come, fill the cup, and in the fire of spring

The winter garment of repentance fling;

The  bird of time has but a little way to fly…

and lo!  The bird is on the wing.”

 Those four lines say a lot about living and about time and how it should be used.  If you’d like to read the entire Rubaiyat go to http://tehran.stanford.edu/Literature/Poetry/Omar_Khayyam.html

Please share the following with anyone  you choose.

“One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.”  ~Helen Keller

“Sometimes you just have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down.”  ~Kobi Yamada

“Courage is not defined as the lack of fear. Courage is doing it anyway, even though you are afraid. It’s the ability to take action in spite of fear, challenge, pain and uncertainty.” ~Cynthia Perkins

“Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath.”
~Unknown

“Those who touch our lives live forever in our hearts.”
~Unknown

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll never get more than what you’ve already got.”
~Unknown

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”
~Jim Rohn

“When you throw your bread out on the waters of life, it frequently comes back buttered.”
~Mershon Niesner

“I don’t want life to imitate art. I want life to be art.”
~ Carrie Fisher

“It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.”
~Confucius

“Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.”
~ Louis E. Boone

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”
~Unknown

“Whatever the struggle, continue the climb, it may be only one more step to the summit.”
~Diane Westlake

“Always listen to experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done and why. Then do it.”
~Robert Heinlein

“If suffering brings wisdom, I would wish to be less wise”
~W.B. Yeats

“Only that which is deeply felt can change us. Because it is only in the heart that anything really happens.”
~Ladyfire.com

“Don’t just slow down and smell the flowers, look up and see the birds, too!”
~Deborah Burns, Simple Living Winter 2000

“The person who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore.”
~Dale Carnegie

“The walls we build around us to keep sadness out also keeps out the joy.”
~Jim Rohn

“In Everyones life ,at some time, our inner fire goes out.  It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.  We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the spirit.”
~Albert Schweister

“In love the paradox occurs that two beings become one and yet remain two.”
~Eric Fromm

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
~Confucius

“Try to be the sort of person your dog thinks you are.”
~Jerry Parkins

“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
~Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

“Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.”
John Lennon

“When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt
“You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.
~James Allen

“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”
~Dolly Parton

“Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, “This is the real me,” and when you have found that attitude, follow it.”
~William James

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?”
~Stephen Levine

Do not criticize yourself because in darkness you could not see.
When you find the light within you, you will know that you have always been in the center of wisdom. As you probe deeper into who you really are, with your lightedness and your confusion, with you angers, longings and distortions, you will find the true living God.
Then you will say: I have known you all of my life and I have called you by many different names. I have called you mother and father and child. I have called you lover. I have called you sun and flowers. I have called you my heart.  But I never until this moment, called you myself.”
~Emmanuels Book

“It is not length of life, but depth of life.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”
~Dale Carnegie

“How a man plays a game shows something of his character, how he loses shows all of it.”
~Unknown

“Compassion for myself is the most powerful healer of them all.”
~Theodore Isaac Rubin, M.D.

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. you yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”
~Buddha

If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it.
If you don’t ask, the answers always no.
If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.
~Nora Roberts
“Live not one’s life as though one had a thousand years, but live each day as the last.”
~Marcus Aurelius Antoninus

“When looking back, usually I’m more sorry for the things I didn’t do than for the things I shouldn’t have done.”
~Malcolm Forbes

“One of the secrets of life is to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks.”
~Jack Penn

“Discoveries are often made by not following instructions; by going off the main road; by trying the untried.”
~Frank Tyger

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars.”
~Les Brown

“”Here is the test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: if you’re alive, it isn’t.”
~Richard Bach

“I know a lot of people without brains who do an awful lot of talking.”
~The Scarecrow, Wizard of Oz

“In youth we learn; in age we understand.”
~Maria Ebner-Eschenbach

“One of the challenges of our lives is to integrate the pieces of our lives as we live them. It is sometimes tempting to try to deny huge periods of our lives or forget significant events, especially if they have been painful. To try to erase our past is to rob ourselves of our hard-earned wisdom.
~Anne Wilson Schaef

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.”
~Winston Churchill

“It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.”
~John Steinbeck

“Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.”
~Benjamin Franklin

“Where we stand is not as important as the direction in which we are moving.”
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

“When it is time to die, let us not discover that we have never lived.”
~Henry David Thoreau

“Venture nothing, and life is less than it should be.”
~Malcolm Forbes

“Vision is not enough, it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs.”
~Vaclav Havel

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
~Albert Einstein

“There’s a fine line between genius and insanity. I have erased this line.”
~Oscar Levant

“Keeping an open mind is a virtue, but not so open that your brains fall out.
~James Oberg

“Do not follow where the path leads, Rather go where there is no path, and leave a trail.”
~David Perkins

“If we did all of the things that we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”
~Thomas Edison

Bob Aronson of Bob’s Newheart is a 2007 heart transplant recipient, the founder of Facebook’s nearly 3,000 member Organ Transplant Initiative and the author of most of these donation/transplantation blogs.

You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at bob@baronson.org. And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.

Please view our new music video “Dawn Anita The Gift of Life” on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYFFJoHJwHs.  This video is free to anyone who wants to use it and no permission is needed. 

If you want to spread the word personally about organ donation, we have another PowerPoint slide show for your use free and without permission. Just go to http://www.organti.org and click on “Life Pass It On” on the left side of the screen and then just follow the directions. This is NOT a stand-alone show; it needs a presenter but is professionally produced and factually sound. If you decide to use the show I will send you a free copy of my e-book, “How to Get a Standing “O” that will help you with presentation skills. Just write to bob@baronson.org and usually you will get a copy the same day.

Also…there is more information on this blog site about other donation/transplantation issues. Additionally we would love to have you join our Facebook group, Organ Transplant Initiative The more members we get the greater our clout with decision makers.

En Espanol

Puede comentar en el espacio proporcionado o por correo electrónico sus pensamientos a mí en bob@baronson.org. Y – por favor, difundir la palabra acerca de la necesidad inmediata de más donantes de órganos. No hay nada que puedas hacer lo que es de mayor importancia. Si usted convence a una persona de ser donante de órganos y tejidos puede salvar o afectar positivamente a más de 60 vidas. Algunas de esas vidas pueden ser personas que conoces y amas.

Por favor, consulte nuestro nuevo video musical “Dawn Anita The Gift of Life” en https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYFFJoHJwHs YouTube. Este video es libre para cualquier persona que quiera usarlo y no se necesita permiso.

Si quieres correr la voz acerca de la donación de órganos personalmente, tenemos otra presentación de PowerPoint para su uso libre y sin permiso. Sólo tienes que ir a http://www.organti.org y haga clic en “Life Pass It On” en el lado izquierdo de la pantalla y luego sólo tienes que seguir las instrucciones. Esto no es un espectáculo independiente, sino que necesita un presentador pero es profesionalmente producida y sonido hechos. Si usted decide usar el programa le enviaré una copia gratuita de mi libro electrónico, “Cómo obtener un pie” O “que le ayudará con habilidades de presentación. Sólo tiene que escribir a bob@baronson.org y por lo general usted recibirá una copia del mismo día.

Además … hay más información sobre este sitio de blogs sobre otros donación / trasplante temas. Además nos encantaría que te unas a nuestro grupo de Facebook, la Iniciativa de Trasplante de Órganos Cuantos más miembros que obtenemos mayor será nuestra influencia con los tomadores de decisiones.

Dawn Anita The Gift of life


Organ Transplant Initiative (OTI) and Bob’s Newheart are proud to announce “Dawn Anita The Gift of Life” a video song about the joy of of being alive. Dawn Anita Plumlee wrote, recorded, financed the production of the song and donated it to OTI. Bob Aronson, founder of Bob’s Newheart and OTI wrote and produced the video. It is free to anyone who wants to view it and viewers are encouraged to pass it on to others. Please register to be an organ donor immediately after watching.

Dear Abbey — An Australian Profile in Courage


Abbey Jones of AustraliaAbbey Jones is a lovely 21 year old woman who lives in Sydney Australia but Abbey doesn’t have the life of other 21 year olds because  she has an almost unpronounceable disease. It’s called  Bronchiectasis, a malady that seriously affects a person’s breathing.  Some say that the only way to explain what it’s like to have Bronchiectasis is to try breathing through a drinking straw all day and that’s what you would feel like on good days.  Cystic fibrosis causes about a third of all bronchiectasis cases in the United States.

According to the American Lung Association Bronchiectasis is a condition in which the lungs’ airways are abnormally stretched and widened. This stretching and widening is caused by mucus blockage. More and more mucus builds up in the airways, allowing bacteria to grow. This leads to infection.

Bronchiectasis can develop at any age. It begins most often in childhood, but symptoms may not appear until much later. Bronchiectasis can occur as part of a birth defect or as a result of injury or other diseases, like tuberculosis, pneumonia and influenza. It also can be caused by a blockage in your airways due to a growth or something you inhaled as a child such as a piece of a toy or peanut.

Bronchiectasis cannot be cured. But with proper treatment most people with bronchiectasis can live a normal life.  That last sentence may be true for some, but it sure hasn’t been true for Abbey.

When you look at the picture to the left  you would not suspect a thing is wrong with Abbey but this picture was taken on one of the few furloughs she’s had from the Intensive Care Unit which seems to be where she spends a good deal of her young life.

Abbey’s Bronchiectasis is further complicated by a rare form of asthma and she is subject to getting pneumonia quite frequently. I have only known Abbey for a few months and in that time she has had pneumonia twice and has only been out of the hospital for about three weeks.

Abbey and I met on Facebook. While she is not on a transplant list now, she has a keen awareness of donation/transplantation issues and is very familiar with almost all lung diseases.

Abbey prefers the picture above but this picture is one she also posted.Abbey Jones of Sydney Australia It is a the way she looks most of the time, connected by a serpentine maze of cords and tubes and wires and who knows what technology…but it keeps her alive and and her mind and imagination are always at work.

Like anyone with a debilitating disease Abbey has down days but for the most part her spirit is good and she talks about what she is experiencing.  Abbey has a blog.  Below are a few of her entries.  I think they will tell you a little about this brave, upbeat and inspirational young woman.   World…Meet Abbey Jones.

Spirometry

Posted on May 19, 2012 by

There it is, that little piece of equipment that will make or break.
That grey box labelled “cf clinic” i’ve gotten to know far too well- it defines me.
Its sides are curved for comfortable handling- if only it helped.
Buttons on its suface, my known of by heart MR number jabbed in – failure and decline.
Physio’s flick through years of results- finding a once healthy and satisfying FEV1 of 3.4L
As if the numbers weren’t enough. A small screen on top graphs the badness.
You can pinpoint it on the graph- a sharp dip, the exact moment airways collapse.
THEN just to throw in your face how much you suck- it shows your graph next to the ideal.

I look down at you, hoping i have what it takes to get a decent figure.
If i can do this- i get to go home.
A take the biggest breathe i can and blow into the white tube within you with all i have.
I can hear the rumble of rubbish in the bottom of my lungs as a try to squeeze out every last bit of air.
My face gets redder as i try harder. You keep beeping.
I wait for you to process. If only i could tweak something within you to show me something good.
Waiting, Waiting, Waiting.
BAM. FEV1- 1.49L
“try harder”

The Reality

Posted on May 19, 2012 by

I hear you from a mile away; I hear the badness,

I hear the thumping of the physios; the buzzing of the nebs,

And your laugh- although crackly and wheezy- full of joy.

You’re kept up night after night coughing;

You struggle day after day to walk up the 5 flights of stairs to your classroom.

Slowly- but surely- you are dying.

I can tell you are young; I can tell you have CF.

I can tell all this before you even open the curtain; because I have heard it before.

I watch you give it your best to make that spiro spit out a good number,

I watch you use PEP for until you are red in the face just hoping it will make a difference.

Ultimately though- both you and I know that your life will be cut devastatingly short.

All you can do is hope- hope that one day there will be a cure;

That one day you can live just as long as those who aren’t affected.

You share so much joy; it’s as if you have to fit it all into a shorter life span.

You share with others the kind of joy that comes with knowledge;

Knowledge that we should live everyday as if it is our first- not our last.

You know it’s the “hello’s” that are more important than any “goodbye”.

The transplant might kill you, it may give you 5 more years,

Yet unfortunately, In the end, CF is too strong, it thinks it has won the battle.

But you- you are the one that beat CF- you never let it stop you living life to the fullest.

For now, just keep breathing.

But when you are tired; when you can’t take it anymore- sleep, sleep forever and eternity in peace;

And say a big hello to a world so amazing you could never have imagined.

65 Roses

Posted on May 19, 2012 by

Living with cystic fibrosis is hard, uncomfortable and timeconsuming. A life potentially dominated by endless tablets, nebs, hospital admissions and physio; just in an attempt to extend the lifespan of the lungs.

What people manage to achieve despite the odds that are stacked against them is astounding. Recent research has lead to medication breakthroughs resulting in significantly increased life expectancy.

The 25th of May marks “65 Roses Day” where fundraising takes place and awareness of the condition is increased. The story of how the day came to be called “65 Roses” is really sweet and something I wanted to share:

65 Roses is what some children with CF call their disease because the words are much easier for them to pronounce. Mary G. Weiss became a volunteer for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation USA in 1965 after learning that her three little boys had CF. Her duty was to call every civic club, social and service organization seeking financial support for CF research. Mary’s 4-year old son, Richard, listened closely to his mother as she made each call. After several calls, Richard came into the room and told his Mom, “I know what you are working for.” Mary was dumbstruck because Richard did not know what she was doing, nor did he know that he had Cystic Fibrosis. With some trepidation, Mary posed the question, What am I working for, Richard?”

You are working for 65 Roses,” he answered so sweetly. Mary was speechless. She went over to him and tenderly pressed his body to hers. He could not see the tears running down Mary’s cheeks as she stammered, Yes Richard, I’m working for 65 Roses.”

Blown Away

Posted on May 18, 2012 by

You take my breath away.
You leave me speechless.
You teach me what no one else can,
Yet I’d not recommend you even to the devil himself.

I hate you, I really do.
But I love you- I promise.
You’re special, very special.
So very special that I can’t make sense of you.

You’ve changed me,
You’ve given me insight,
You’ve granted me understanding
But please- I’ve had enough.

Please, just once- let me blow you away.
May you float among the clouds.
Me free of you, you free of me.
Just the way it is meant to be.

Abbey’s blogs can be found at  http://takemybreatheaway.wordpress.com/ Abbey has a page you can visit,too it is http://www.facebook.com/groups/411648502237896/?fref=ts

Bob Aronson of Bob’s Newheart is a 2007 heart transplant recipient, the founder of Facebook’s nearly 2,500 member Organ Transplant Initiative and the author of most of these donation/transplantation blogs.

You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at bob@baronson.org. And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.

Please view our video “Thank You From the Bottom of my Donor’s heart” on http://www.organti.org This video was produced to promote organ donation so it is free and no permission is needed for its use.

If you want to spread the word personally about organ donation, we have another PowerPoint slide show for your use free and without permission. Just go to http://www.organti.org and click on “Life Pass It On” on the left side of the screen and then just follow the directions. This is NOT a stand-alone show; it needs a presenter but is professionally produced and factually sound. If you decide to use the show I will send you a free copy of my e-book, “How to Get a Standing “O” that will help you with presentation skills. Just write to bob@baronson.org and usually you will get a copy the same day.

Also…there is more information on this blog site about other donation/transplantation issues. Additionally we would love to have you join our Facebook group, Organ Transplant Initiative The more members we get the greater our clout with decision makers.

 Espanol

Bob Aronson Newheart de Bob es un receptor de trasplante cardiaco 2007, el fundador de Facebook, casi 2.500 Iniciativa miembro de Trasplante de Órganos y el autor de la mayoría de los blogs de donación / trasplante.

Puede comentar en el espacio proporcionado o por correo electrónico sus pensamientos a mí en bob@baronson.org. Y – por favor, difundir la palabra acerca de la necesidad inmediata de más donantes de órganos. No hay nada que puedas hacer lo que es de mayor importancia. Si usted convence a una persona de ser donante de órganos y tejidos puede salvar o afectar positivamente a más de 60 vidas. Algunas de esas vidas pueden ser personas que conoces y amas.

Por favor vea nuestro video “Gracias desde el fondo de mi corazón Donante” en http://www.organti.org Este video fue producido para promover la donación de órganos por lo que es libre y no se necesita permiso para su uso.

Si quieres correr la voz acerca de la donación de órganos personalmente, tenemos otra presentación de PowerPoint para su uso libre y sin permiso. Sólo tienes que ir a http://www.organti.org y haga clic en “Life Pass It On” en el lado izquierdo de la pantalla y luego sólo tienes que seguir las instrucciones. Esto no es un espectáculo independiente, sino que necesita un presentador pero es profesionalmente producida y sonido hechos. Si usted decide usar el programa le enviaré una copia gratuita de mi libro electrónico, “Cómo obtener un pie” O “que le ayudará con habilidades de presentación. Sólo tiene que escribir a bob@baronson.org y por lo general usted recibirá una copia del mismo día.

Además … hay más información sobre este sitio de blogs sobre otros donación / trasplante temas. Además nos encantaría que te unas a nuestro grupo de Facebook, la Iniciativa de Trasplante de Órganos Cuantos más miembros que obtenemos mayor será nuestra influencia con los tomadores de decisiones.

Between Your Heart and Mine


The song, “Between Your Heart and Mine” was written and produced by Gregory Todd a Nashville,Tennessee country musician.  He wrote the song as a tribute to a friend who had a transplant.  I wrote to Mr. Todd yesterday to let him know about this blog and when he responded he said, among other things, “Incidentally, my friend Alan, the inspiration behind the song, has been doing incredibly well after 20 months of carrying the heart of his donor. He has recently been cleared to take his first flight- and it’s to go see his 10 year old daughter perform in the Cheerleading Championships in Orlando. How great is that??”  The song shows up in many places on the internet and you can hear more of Mr. Todd’s work by going to his website http://www.gregorytodd.com/Home_Page_DVPA.php

“Between Your Heart and Mine” is a touching song and the story that many of us who have had transplants have already lived.  Please take the time to listen to it…close your eyes, listen, remember and give thanks.  This Christmas is special for those who have had transplants and who are getting them right now, but there are thousands of others still waiting.  Please say a little prayer for them while you enjoy Mr. Todd’s wonderful song. You can click on the link above to listen to the song.  The lyrics are below.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to everyone.

Between Your Heart and Mine

As the doctors took their places
I could see my kids and wife
Blowing kisses for good luck, not goodbye

Seven months with just one question
Then you answered with your life
You had one foot crossing heaven
I was one small breath behind

But you saved me when you gave me
The miracle I needed to survive
Now we both can go on
Between your heart and mine

Between your heart and mine
I’ll live a life worth living
I’ll take what I’ve been given
And pass it down the line

I’ll cherish every moment
Then breathe it in and hold in for the rest of my life
Between your heart and mine

I heard what happened late that night
Drinker driving through the light
He drove your hopes and dreams right to the ground

Just seventeen, you went too soon
But on my life I swear to you
Each morning when I wake up, I’ll make sure you’re smiling down

Cause you saved me when you gave me
The miracle I needed now it’s beating deep inside
So we both can go on
Between your heart and mine

I’ve been praying for your family
Hoping one day comes around
When I can let them know their boy is safe and sound
Between your heart and mine

And that I’ll live a life worth living
I’ll take what I’ve been given and pass it down the line
I’ll cherish every moment
Then breathe it in and hold it for the rest of my life
I’ll keep this feeling for the rest of my life
Between your heart and mine

Bob Aronson of Bob’s Newheart is a 2007 heart transplant recipient, the founder of Facebook’s nearly 2,500 member Organ Transplant Initiative and the author of most of these donation/transplantation blogs.

You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at bob@baronson.org. And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.

Please view our video “Thank You From the Bottom of my Donor’s heart” on http://www.organti.org This video was produced to promote organ donation so it is free and no permission is needed for its use.

If you want to spread the word personally about organ donation, we have another PowerPoint slide show for your use free and without permission. Just go to http://www.organti.org and click on “Life Pass It On” on the left side of the screen and then just follow the directions. This is NOT a stand-alone show; it needs a presenter but is professionally produced and factually sound. If you decide to use the show I will send you a free copy of my e-book, “How to Get a Standing “O” that will help you with presentation skills. Just write to bob@baronson.org and usually you will get a copy the same day.

Also…there is more information on this blog site about other donation/transplantation issues. Additionally we would love to have you join our Facebook group, Organ Transplant Initiative The more members we get the greater our clout with decision makers.

76 Inspirational Quotes to Help Make Your Day Better*


Being a pre or post transplant patient a donor or donor family or a caregiver can be very difficult.  Sometimes just a good word or two can make the difference between a good and a bad day.  With that in mind I thought that perhaps somewhere in this list of 76 quotes, there is a thought that will help make your day be a better one.

1. Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself – George Bernard Shaw.

2. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore,  dream, discover….Mark Twain.

 3. Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant – Robert Louis Stevenson.

4. We don’t see things the way they are. We see them the way WE are – Talmud.

5. I have found that if you love life, life will love you back – Arthur Rubinstein.

6. The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be – Marcel Pagnol.

7. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – Lao Tzu.

8. Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive – Howard Thurman.

9. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

10. Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like – Will Rogers.

11. I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been – Wayne Gretzky.

12. Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional – Anony-mouse.

13. Every man dies. Not every man really lives – William Ross Wallace.

14. Life isn’t a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, latte in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming ‘Woohoo WHAT A RIDE’!

15. There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle – Albert Einstein.

16. Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security – John Allen Paulos.

17. You are not in this world to live up to other people’s expectations, nor should you feel the world must live up to yours – F Perl.

18. How you do one thing, is how you do everything. Be aware.

19. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing – Helen Keller.

20. Life is not about kissing a**, it’s about kicking a**!

21. The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it – Henry David Thoreau.

22.  Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself – Harvey Fierstein.

23. Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are – John Wooden.

24. In the end, it’s not going to matter howmany breathsyou took, but how many moments took your breath away – Shing Xiong.

25. Dance like the photo’s not being tagged. Love like you’ve never been unfriended. Sing like nobody’s following. Share like you care. And do it all like it won’t end up on youtube!

26. The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and let it come in – Morrie Schwartz.

27. You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with – Dr. Wayne Dyer.

28. Happiness is like a butterfly.
The more you chase it, the more it eludes you.
But if you turn your attention to other things,
It comes and sits softly on your shoulder.
 – Henry David Thoreau

29. I think everyone should be told they’re beautiful until they believe it – Unknown

30. People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The reason the world is in chaos, is because things are being loved, and people are being used.

31. Dear Heart, fall in love only when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely – Anony-mouse.
32. ”It’s impossible” said pride. “It’s risky” said experience. “It’s pointless” said reason. “Give it a try” whispered the heart – Anonymous

33. To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance – Oscar Wilde.

34. Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage – Lao Tzu.

35. When in doubt, choose Love.

36. Your task is not to seek love, but to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it – Rumi.

37. Happiness always sneaks in a door you did not think was open – Anony-mouse.

38. Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean – Maya Angelou.

39. Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead – Scottish Proverb.

40. The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind that was. Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along – Rumi.

41. Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.

42. Whoever said money can’t buy happiness didn’t know where to shop – Gertrude Stein.

43. The appearance of things change according to the emotions and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty really are in ourselves – Kahlil Gibran.

44. You’re at the zoo, you have a popsicle, how can you be unhappy? – Dewey, Malcolm in the Middle.

45.  Find the guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot, who calls you back when you hang up on him, who will lie under the stars and listen to your heartbeat, or stay awake just to watch you sleep. The one who turns to his friends and says, “thats her” – Anony-mouse.

46. Don’t worry. Be happy.

47. Self-worth comes from one thing – thinking that you are worthy.

48. Be helpful. When you see a person without a smile, give them yours – Zig Ziglar.

49. My life has  no purpos, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right? – Charles Schultz (probably # 50!).

50. Happiness is a choice. Choose happy.

 51. If you’re going through hell, keep going – Winston Churchill.

52. Feelings come and feelings go. There is no need to fear them and no need to crave them. Let them come, and then let them go. No feeling is your permanent reality, no matter how intense it is.

53. No matter what, no matter how, where or who – you can almost always turn around and get a second chance – Anony-mouse.

54. When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us – Alexander Graham Bell.

http://www.andrewmitchellphotography.tumblr.com

55. The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man – George B Shaw.

56. You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it – Albert Einstein.

57. Do or Do Not. There is no Try – Yoda.

58. We must let go of the life we had planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us – Joseph Campbell.

59. You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face – Eleanor Roosevelt.

60. When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves – Viktor Frankl.

61. Change is inevitable. Progress is optional – Tony Robbins.

62. Be smart enough to hold on, be brave enough to let go. Sometimes, we need to hold onto faith while letting go of the outcome. Open your hand and hold your dreams gently, don’t try to grab them.

63. If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished? – Rumi

64. If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves – Carl Jung.

65. I’ve developed a new philosophy. I only dread one day at a time – Charlie Brown

66. Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there – Will Rogers.

http://www.cpthatsme.com

67. The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving – Oliver W Holmes.

68. The harder you fall, the higher you bounce – Unknown.

69. I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I’ve ended up where I needed to be  – Douglas Adams.

70. The best way to predict the future is to create it.

71. People will hate you, rate you, shake you, and break you. But how strong you stand is what makes you – Unknown.

72. We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand – Randy Pausch.

73. You’ve got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was – Irish proverb.

74. You are who you are and what you are because of what has gone into your mind. You can change who you are and what you are by changing what goes into your mind – Zig Ziglar

75. Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right – Henry Ford.

76.  God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference – Reinhold Niebuhr. (The Serenity Prayer rocks!)

WANT MORE? GO TO https://bobsnewheart.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/half-a-hundred-quotes-on-hope-inspiration-love-and-living/

The entire list with great poster-like illustrations can be found at http://www.yourlifeyourway.net/2011/09/06/75-best-kickass-inspirational-quotes-on-life-love-happiness-change-growth/  

Bob Aronson of Bob’s Newheart is a 2007 heart transplant recipient, the founder of Facebook’s nearly 2,500 member Organ Transplant Initiative and the author of most of these donation/transplantation blogs.

You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at bob@baronson.org. And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.

Please view our video “Thank You From the Bottom of my Donor’s heart” on http://www.organti.org This video was produced to promote organ donation so it is free and no permission is needed for its use.

If you want to spread the word personally about organ donation, we have another PowerPoint slide show for your use free and without permission. Just go to http://www.organti.org and click on “Life Pass It On” on the left side of the screen and then just follow the directions. This is NOT a stand-alone show; it needs a presenter but is professionally produced and factually sound. If you decide to use the show I will send you a free copy of my e-book, “How to Get a Standing “O” that will help you with presentation skills. Just write to bob@baronson.org and usually you will get a copy the same day.

Also…there is more information on this blog site about other donation/transplantation issues. Additionally we would love to have you join our Facebook group, Organ Transplant Initiative The more members we get the greater our clout with decision makers.

“His” Heart, My Life, My Story


I wrote this account of my life since receiving a heart transplant in hopes that others will benefit from my experiences.  Most of you who will have transplants will have a far easier time of it than I did.  You must remember that I was 68 years old when I had mine and that alone can make a huge difference in recovery time and other factors as well.  If any of you have any questions after reading this please contact me personally at bob@baronson.org.

Being a transplant recipient is an amazing experience.  I simply cannot describe what the feeling is like knowing that one of the parts you were born has been discarded and replaced with one belonging to someone else who in all likelihood died…except for the organ that is keeping you alive.

I don’t know who my donor was.  I only know he was about 30 years old when he died and he was from South Carolina.  I have written to my donor family but not heard from them so I assume they prefer to remain anonymous and I understand and accept that.

Everyone who has ever had a transplant has had a unique experience that nothing else in life can match.  Each day I am struck by the awareness that the heart I was born with, that kept me alive for 68 years no longer beats within my chest.  It died.  I didn’t.  Wow!

Often when I lie in bed I feel the rhythmic thumping that kept someone else alive for 30 years is now doing the same for me.  “His” heart is my life.  “His” heart pumps my blood, in my body to my brain and allows me to think, to live, love and enjoy life. “His” heart, not mine.

My donor has given me a lot but his greatest gift is allowing me the extra time to be with my wonderful wife Robin.

In 1995 after collapsing in a parking ramp am rushed to a hospital, I was diagnosed with dilated idiopathic cardiomyopathy and was told that someday I might need a heart transplant.  As the owner of a communications consulting business I was very active and travelled a great deal both domestically and internationally, but slowly my health began to deteriorate.  Always the optimist I adjusted and slowed down a little but not so anyone would really notice.

Then in 1996 my wife was diagnosed with lung cancer and I ignored my condition while we dealt with hers which included many chemotherapy and radiation sessions.  After a long and courageous battle with that terrible disease she succumbed in November of 1998.  We had been married for 35 years.  It was a devastating time and at age 59 I felt lost, alone and without hope as I began to feel the effects of my own condition.

About a year later I met Robin Diffie and as we got to know each other I felt my life just might come back together after all, but my version of the sword of Damocles, cardiomyopathy, continued its swing through my life as my heart function continued to fall with a resultant decrease in my ability to function.

In 2000 Robin and I were married in Eagan, Minnesota but by then the condition which would later require a heart transplant was becoming debilitating, when I travelled I began to ask for wheelchair service in airports and Robin began traveling with me to make sure I got one and to act as my “pusher.”

Cardiomyopathy kind of sneaks up on you and kicks your butt softly at first but then harder and harder.  The effect of the disease is measured by ones “Ejection Fraction” (EF).  A normal heart will pump out about 60% of the blood it contains every time it beats.  As the disease progresses the EF keeps going down and the heart enlarges in order to store the blood that doesn’t’ get ejected.  My heart was getting very large and by 2006 my EF was around 10% and decreasing.  Clearly I was dying and too sick to work.  Sometimes I could barely walk a few feet without having to stop to rest.  My heart was just barely pumping enough blood to keep me alive.  Reluctantly I made the decision to retire.

It was then that we decided to move to Jacksonville, Florida and we did so for two reasons.  1) Moving there offered the greatest likelihood of getting a heart.  My research indicated that the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville had a wonderful record in organ procurement and transplantation.  2) It was an easy decision because Jacksonville is Robin’s home town and her entire family is there.  I still question Robin’s sanity in marrying a dying man but no matter I am grateful for whatever bug struck her and caused the instability.

After undergoing the battery of tests that are required to qualify for a transplant, I was finally approved and placed on the national list on August 8th of 2007.  I had resigned myself to either a very long wait or, I thought, no heart at all because of my age.  It had already been twelve very long years since I was diagnosed with a fatal heart disease.  I thought that at age 68 it was unlikely that I would get a heart and if I did it wouldn’t be anytime soon — but I got lucky.

Only 13 days after being listed I got the call from Mayo Clinic Transplant Cardiologist Dr. Jeffrey Hosenpud that he “might” have a heart for me.  He did.  I got one and August 21st 2007 goes down in history as my “other” birthday.

My recovery from the transplant was difficult to say the least.  It took four years before I finally felt good again.  I quit smoking in 1991 but the 37 year habit had already taken its toll, I had Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).  That’s a disease of the lungs that can best be described as feeling as though you are breathing through a straw…try that some time.  COPD is bad enough but when you get pneumonia on top of it you have another life threatening situation.  Well, I got pneumonia shortly after my surgery and was hospitalized again but the recovery was very slow and touch and go before I slowly regained my strength.  I now know that another bout with pneumonia could kill me so I try to be pretty careful about what I expose myself to.

I no sooner recovered from the pneumonia virus than I was stricken with indescribable absolutely excruciating pain….pain so severe that sometimes I would just sit and cry. Part of the pain, I’m told, was the result of the way I was positioned during my surgery.  Apparently your left arm is in a strange position in order to allow the surgeon unobstructed access to the chest cavity, but a transplant takes a long time and it seems that my arm needed different medical attention than was delivered.

The pain in my left arm right down to my wrist and fingers was awful but then just when I thought it couldn’t get worse, it did.  The pain spread to both shoulders, my neck and lower back for and went on for months.  Torn rotator cuffs were part of the reason but much of the pain came from unknown causes, perhaps it was the way I was sleeping or  maybe the lack of proper exercise and maybe because of an old auto accident.  We’ll never know the exact cause but it was finally resolved with a combination of physical therapy and Oxycontin the potent, addictive pain killer, and addictive it was.

I’ve been a recovering alcoholic since 1982.  I understand addiction and I understood quite well that I had become dependent on the narcotic.  I no longer really needed it for the pain for which it was prescribed, I needed it for the pain caused by the withdrawal you experience between “hits.”  When you are taking pain killers there’s a simple question you must ask yourself every time you reach for a pill.  “Am I taking this because I need it for pain or am I taking it because I want it?”  If you are truthful with yourself and the answer is the latter, you have a problem.  I had a problem.  By addict standards I wasn’t taking much Oxycontin, only about 30-40 milligrams a day, but it was enough for me to know I needed the drug, needed it not to get high…I needed it to feel normal.  That’s what happens to every drunk and junkie…they ultimately drink, shoot or take pills just to try to feel normal.  Often the first high you have, is the last one.

Having been through chemical dependency treatment in 1982 I knew what I had to do but I also knew I couldn’t do it cold turkey.  I found a highly reputable pain clinic that specialized in addiction and started going there.  They immediately took me off of Oxycontin and put me on Suboxone another addictive drug but one that is used to slowly help people through the painful withdrawal that comes with quitting.  It took several months but it worked and I was Oxycontin free but, sorry, the story doesn’t end there.

You’d think that after having survived cardiomyopathy, getting a heart transplant, beating terrible pain and withdrawing from an addictive drug I would finally feel better.  Unfortunately the light at the end of my tunnel was an oncoming train that hit me hard and almost had me down for the count because for no explainable reason I fell into a deep, dark depression that lasted for a couple of years.

Each day I would awaken, head to my favorite recliner in a corner of the den and sit there in the dark drinking coffee and watching TV.  I was nearly a zombie.  Some days I wouldn’t even shower and I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone.  That was my life day after day, week after week for a couple of years.   Depression is one of those diseases where you don’t know how bad off you are until you are no longer bad off.  The only thing that gave me any hope each day was maintaining my presence on the Facebook group I started, Organ Transplant Initiative and my blog on WordPress, Bob’s Newheart.  While I knew I needed professional help I was so depressed I didn’t’ care if I got it so I kept putting it off.  Finally with Robin’s gentle prodding I went back to Mayo and began treatment but you don’t beat depression overnight or even in a few months.  Sometimes it takes a considerable amount of trial and error before the right treatment is found.  That came right around my four year post surgery mark but not until i had lost 75 pounds from lack of appetite.  i was left weak but finally energized and optimistic again.

Through all of that Robin, the lunatic who married a dying man, was steady as a rock. She had her hands full running two businesses and our home plus being my caregiver.  I’ll never know how she did it and kept her wits about her but she never flinched.  She is the most amazing, compassionate and competent human being I have ever encountered.  She is an unflappable optimist who doesn’t have a selfish bone in her body.  I don’t know why I was so blessed to find this woman but  as the man said, “Somebody up there likes me.”

That takes us to today…five plus years later and I feel wonderful but most importantly I get to spend time with Robin.  If a physician could have written a prescription for love, happiness and contentment it would simply have said, “Robin.”  It is only because of my donor that I am getting to spend time with this wonderful, gracious, smart, talented, funny and super woman.  The heart of a stranger has allowed us to really get to know each other.  There is no greater gift my donor could have given me and yes, that’s selfish but in this case I think selfish is OK.

Like many recipients my life has changed in other ways as well.  Because of a transplant I’m a different person.  I hope I’m a better person.  I know I appreciate life a great deal more than I ever did before, but it is not only my life I appreciate, it is everyone’s life.  When you experience death or near death, “life” takes on a whole new meaning.  My reaction to being a transplant recipient is that I owe my donor big time.  While I can’t do anything for him directly I can honor his memory by doing everything in my power to help others live.  That’s why I am such an outspoken donation/transplantation activist.

While science generally rejects the notion, some recipients feel they have taken on some of the characteristics of their donor.  I can’t say what my donor’s characteristics were because I didn’t know him but my life has changed as a result of having his heart.  He may well be the influence behind some of the changes I have experienced which include:

  • I am much less selfish than I was before and spend as much time as I can trying to help others.
  • I am much less concerned with material things than I used to be.  “Appearances” aren’t important anymore.  I don’t have to have a new car, wear the best clothes or get recognition.  I simply don’t care about those things.
  • I am far more passionate about causes I believe in like fairness, equality and justice.  I particularly feel a need to help the economically disadvantaged, the disabled, the sick, the elderly and, of course — children who suffer so many indignities of which they should not even be aware, never mind being forced to experience them.
  • I am more of a peacemaker.  In the past I was a warrior, a bulldozer who when advocating for a cause would show my commitment by rolling over those who disagreed and sometimes belittling them in the process.  Now I believe in finding common ground and forming friendships despite serious disagreements.
  • I am much less self-centered than I used to be.  I have come to accept who I am and as a result can concentrate on the needs of others.
  • I have always enjoyed learning but it has almost become an obsession since my transplant.  My thirst for knowledge about a wide variety of things knows no bounds.  I can’t get enough information about the wonders around us like the sun and the stars and the miracles, medical and otherwise that we experience every day.
  • Working with my hands has always been enjoyable for me but since my transplant I have become addicted to woodwork.  I’m not the Michelangelo of woodworking, hell I’m not even a Barney Fife but I am determined to get better at it.  Unfortunately it is my friends and family who must suffer receiving my woodworking “gifts” and then acting as though they like them.

Being a transplant recipient is an amazing experience.  It is one of which I am always aware and I mean always that I have someone else’ heart.  There is no time in my waking hours that I am not aware that I am alive because a generous stranger give me his heart.  I owe him and his family more than I could ever repay no matter what efforts I make for the rest of my life.

If you, the reader, are an organ donor, let me thank you on behalf of the unknown lives you may save as a result of your selfless action.  If you are not an organ donor, please consider it carefully.  You can save or enhance the lives of up to 60 people just by signing up and you can do that so easily.  Just go to www.donatelife.net and follow the directions.  Then, tell your family what you’ve done so there is no chance that anyone will object when the time comes to fulfill your commitment.

Earlier in this story I mentioned my Facebook Group and Blog. Let me take just a moment to explain how they came to be.  Just a couple of months after my transplant I got a call from Mayo asking if I’d be interested in starting a Facebook Organ donation group and in writing a blog.  I knew what neither were but decided I needed something to do during my recuperation and said, “Yes.”  With Mayo’s help I got started immediately.

That was the beginning or Facebook’s Organ Transplant Initiative group (OTI) and Bob’s Newheart blog on WordPress www.bobsnewheart.wordpress.com .  OTI now has almost 2,500 members and I’ve posted 140 blogs on donation/transplantation issues that have been read by over 100,000 people in at least 20 countries.  I believe that I was given my new heart to do this and it has become my new passion.

None of this would be possible without all you wonderful people who helped to make OTI a success and who read my “Stuff” on WordPress.  By offering your kind words, thoughts and deeds you are doing a great service to those who suffer while waiting for organs and those who are recovering from receiving them, never mind the caregivers and others who are so critical to the donation/transplantation process.  Words cannot express my fondness for all of you and my gratitude for your involvement.  All I can say is, thank you from the bottom of my donor’s heart.

Bob Aronson of Bob’s Newheart is a 2007 heart transplant recipient, the founder of Facebook’s nearly 2,500 member Organ Transplant Initiative and the author of most of these donation/transplantation blogs.

You may comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at bob@baronson.org. And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.

Please view our video “Thank You From the Bottom of my Donor’s heart” on http://www.organti.org This video was produced to promote organ donation so it is free and no permission is needed for its use.

If you want to spread the word personally about organ donation, we have another PowerPoint slide show for your use free and without permission. Just go to http://www.organti.org and click on “Life Pass It On” on the left side of the screen and then just follow the directions. This is NOT a stand-alone show; it needs a presenter but is professionally produced and factually sound. If you decide to use the show I will send you a free copy of my e-book, “How to Get a Standing “O” that will help you with presentation skills. Just write to bob@baronson.org and usually you will get a copy the same day.

Also…there is more information on this blog site about other donation/transplantation issues. Additionally we would love to have you join our Facebook group, Organ Transplant Initiative The more members we get the greater our clout with decision makers.

My Donor’s Heart — My Story


I don’t know why but somehow the formatting  on WordPress got a little disjointed so ignore it if you can.  I apologize for any inconveniece

The fourth anniversary of my heart transplant is on August 21. I will never, ever forget that day. I was a very sick man. I had dilated cardiomyopathy, which is a progressive and incurable heart disease, but let us turn back the calendar to the time when I first learned I had a fatal illness and would likely need a heart transplant.

It was about 9 PM in July of 1995 and I was just leaving the office. All day my breathing had been somewhat labored but I thought it was my old asthma resurfacing so I did not dwell on it. Even though I was not having serious problems with asthma I always carried a “rescue” inhaler with me so I used it a couple of times but strangely it did not seem to be doing any good. As the day wore on breathing got more difficult.  I felt like going home but I had a client coming in from six until nine that evening and was sure I could “gut” it out.

My always prompt 6 o’clock client was there early so I hurried the previous out the door and began work with my last appointment of the day.  Six until nine became the longest three hours of my life. I was having such trouble breathing my client asked if I needed to go home. Always the tough guy I told her I was fine, just having a little bit of seasonal asthma.

When nine o’clock came she gathered her things and said goodnight. I was out the door about two minutes after she was. On the ride down to the parking ramp I remembered that when I had arrived that day the only parking places left were all the way at the back of the ramp, easily a block from the elevator door. My laptop and other “homework” was in my rolling briefcase so I began the walk to the car, all the time struggling for air. A couple of times I had to stop, lean on my rolling case for a couple of minutes and then start again. My breathing was getting so difficult I was starting to get a little scared.  I
repeatedly used the rescue inhaler but to no avail, it was useless so I decided it was a bad inhaler or this asthma attack was a particularly strong one.

Finally  I reached the car, gasping for air. I got in and just sat for a few minutes and my breathing started to become a little better, not much but a little. Home was fifteen miles from the office and it seemed like the whole world had gone into slow motion. Getting a little concerned I picked up my clunky cell phone and called home. When my wife answered I told her what was happening and that I thought I might need to go to an emergency room but I would pick her up first. When I arrived she was standing outside waiting. It was clear that I could no longer drive, I could hardly move, so my wife got behind the wheel and we sped off to the closest ER. When we walked in there was no one there but a nurse behind a desk. Now, gaspling for air and feeling faint, I told her about my breathing and about the rescue inhaler and that I thought I was having a severe asthma attack. While I was talking she was taking my blood pressure and temperature. When I finished two men came into the waiting room with a stretcher on wheels. I told them it was asthma and that I did not need the stretcher. That is when still another nurse appeared and said, “Mister, you are definitely not having an asthma attack.”

Almost as soon as I got placed in bed in a curtained cubicle a doctor appeared.  As he examined me and gave instructions to the nurses I was connected to several monitors.  The quietly efficient ER staff started an IV and my breathing seemed to be easing….within a few minutes it seemed to be almost normal again.   Obviously there was some fast acting medication in the I V.  As I began to relax and enjoy the ability to breathe again the doctor looked up from a chart and told me that I
was having some kind of heart problem and that I needed to be transferred to another facility because my condition appeared to be grave and that they did not have the cardiac care capabilities that I needed.  He said an ambulance was on its way to take me to United Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota which was a well-known cardiac care center.  By now I was feeling pretty good and told the doc I did not need an ambulance  — my wife could drive me there. With a stern look and a threatening voice he said, “You are a very sick man Mr. Aronson, you are going by ambulance.”

When the ambulance arrived two paramedics hopped out and began hooking me up to their monitors while they quickly wheeled me to and into the back of the big red and white truck. Siren on, lights flashing, I wondered what the big deal was. I was rushed into United Hospital and connected to what seemed to be every monitor in the room. They drew blood, sent me for x-rays and I do not really remember all the other things but it was quick, efficient and done with great respect and
concern. In short order my entire family began to gather around me joking and laughing .  After all, I felt pretty good, I looked Ok and I didn’t seem to be in any danger.   That’s when when a tall, gray haired, distinguished looking man walked in. He was Dr. Thomas Johnson a respected cardiologist.  He was very friendly and calm but his words indicated the situation was not good.   “You have a condition called cardiomyopathy,” he said and explained what the disease was and that while I was feeling good right now, it was the medication that was responsible.  It was obvious from his demeanor that this situation was quite serious.  When he finished his explaination to me and my family he said, “Cardiomyopathy is a progressive, incurable form of heart disease and it is likely that you will need a heart transplant.”  The room fell into a prolonged silence.

Trying to make the best of a bad thing I said, “See, there’s a remedy… I’ll get a heart transplant.” I knew very little about organ donation and transplantation and assumed that if I needed a new heart we could schedule it and I would be fine after some recuperation. That is when I learned how the organ shortage I had heard about affected me.  Dr. Johnson explained the organ shortage and said that some people never got the organs they needed. I also learned the procedure could not be done at United because they were not a transplant center. To make a long story short I stayed in the hospital for a few days then was given some prescriptions, instructions and  set up an appointment to see Dr. Johnson in his office the next day.  As we headed home, I was overwhelmed with random, disconnected and confusing thoughts.  I was still kind of puzzled because I felt great.  None of it made any sense.

Twelve years went by before I finally got a new heart. In the meantime I had more epiisodes and finally was fitted with an implantable defibrilator which proved to be insufficient for my condition and within a year or so required a more sophisticated device.  This was all getting very real.  I could feel and see the outline of the defibrilator through my skin just below my left shoulder.  In the meantime I continued to work but at a slower and slower pace. I

As a communications consultant I  did a lot of training for my clients and when I did my “lecture” I always stood, walked around the room  and tried to make it fun but all that activity used up a lot of energy. As time went on I limited my walking around while presenting because it affected my breathing. Then I quit walking completely and just stood at a lectern and finally I could no longer even stand for any length of time, I had to sit. Now I began to understand the progressive nature of the disease.

By this time I was re-married after having lost my first wife to cancer several years earlier. As fate would have it my new, lovely wife Robin was from Jacksonville, Florida where most of her family lived. For six years we lived in Minnesota’s
twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul but I knew as we approached the end of the sixth year that my condition was getting very bad. I was 68 years old and loved my job but it was clear that very soon I would be unable to do it anymore. I had great difficulty making it from our family room to the bathroom. It was time to retire.

I love to do computer research so I began digging and found that the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville had an excellent ransplantation record and they seemed to have more organs available to them sooner than any other transplant center.  Besides, Robin’s entire family lived there.  The decision to move to Jacksonville was easy.

I am always proud to say that when I was a communications consultant the famed Mayo Clinic was a client. Our relationship lasted for over a quarter of century in all three of their U.S. locations (Rochester MN., Scottsdale AZ and
Jacksonville, Florida).

After buying a home and making appointments at Mayo for a thorough heart and lung examination we started to settle in to our new life. The results of the examination, tread mill test, blood work, bone scan and more were further confirmmation of what Dr. Johnson had told me.  Mayo Transplant Cardiologist Dr. Jeffrey Hosenpud told me he was going to go before the hospital transplant committee to convince them that I needed to be placed on the transplant list immediately.

I will try to explain just how bad my heart was. Pumping efficiency of the organ is judged by the “Ejection fraction. (EF)” Using ultra sound they determine how much blood is pumped out of your heart. The normal EF is around 60%, mine was between 10 and 20, usually closer to 10. That meant that because my heart couldn’t pump the blood out it had to find a way to store it internally so my heart kept getting bigger, much bigger in order to hold the blood it could not pump out. When you are getting very little blood to your brain and elsewhere you slow down considerably.

The day after Dr. Hosenpud presented my case to the transplant committee he called and told me that I was going to be listed by UNOS (United Network For Organ Sharing). UNOS is the central organization that coordinates all U.S. transplants. While I was very happy with the news that I would finally be on a list (remember it was 12 years since that original diagnosis) I did not think I would have much of a chance of getting a heart after all I was now 68 years old. I was sure there were much sicker and younger people who had every right to get an available heart before me. I expected to die, sitting on our reclining loveseat in front of the TV.

Then came the biggest surprise of my life. 13 days after being listed Dr. Hosenpud called and said, “I may have a heart for you.” He told me to come to the hospital right away and that by the time I got there they would likely know better if he really did have a heart for me.  Geographically Jacksonville is the largest city in America. It’s population of over a million is spread far and wide so it took some time to drive all the way across the city to get to Mayo. I remember thinking that when I got there and announced that I was called to come in for a heart transplant, pandemonium would break out  just like on TV but when I walked to the reception desk and excitedly told the woman I had been called to come in because I was going to get a transplant, she ;looked at her computer screen, smiled and said, “I see that, have a seat Mr. Aronson and we’ll call your name when the Dr. can see you.” Boy did the air come out of that emergency balloon. I really wanted it to be chaos just like on TV.

I got to see the doctor just a few minutes later, around 1 PM when he told me that indeed there was a heart for me and that they would do the surgery that day.  I was sent to a room, changed into one of those fashionable hospital gowns and began the wait.  It was a long one.  It was not till very late in the day that I was taken to an operating room and given something to “relax” me. The next thing I knew I woke up in a different room and Robin was there holding my hand and saying, “Everything went well, you have a new heart and it’s working perfectly. Your donor was a 30 year old man from South Carolina but that’s all we know.” I immediately went back to sleep.

My recovery from the transplant surgery was tough very tough, t took two years.  There was no problem with the  transplant but several other health problems emerged like pneumonia, then a diagnosis of Chronic Oppressive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), torn rotator cutts and deep depression all of that kept me pretty inactive for a long time but between Robin my caregiver and the team at Mayo I finally came around to where I am today.  Now it is 2011 and I feel better than I have for ten or fifteen years. Retired, I spend most of my time helping Robin with her business, promoting organ donation and related issues and loving my new woodworking hobby. I am a really active guy at age 72.

So — for those of you who think, “I’m too old,” or “There are so many  people more deserving than me,” or “There are so few organs I’ll never get one,” I am the example that all of those hurdles can be overcome. Do  not ever give up hope, never, ever!

Thanks for reading my story.

Please
view our brand new video “Thank You From the Bottom of my Donor’s heart” on You
Tube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifyRsh4qKF4  This video was produced to promote organ donation so it is free and no permission is needed for it’s use. 

Also…there  is more information on this blog site about other donation/transplantation issues. We would love to have you join our

Facebook grou[, Organ Transplant Initiative The more members we get the greater  our clout with decision makers.

Please  comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at bob@baronson.org. And – please spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors. There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance. If you convince one person to be an organ and tissue donor you may save or  positively affect over 60 lives. Some of those lives may be people you know and love.

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