Thankful for Organ Donors

On Thursday, July 10, a 20 year old young man lost his life. I don’t know who he is or what happened. What I do know is that he was an organ donor. And his two lungs saved the life of my dear friend, Don Baskin. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to this young man and his family for his sacrificial gift. Bev and the kids are even more grateful than I am, I’m sure.

I mentioned the Baskins in a previous post. I have known them forever. I have known Bev (the mom) the longest. She was in my parents Sunday school class as a senior in high school. She remembers coming with her date to see my parents the night of her senior prom. And as a little one (maybe 2 or 3), I plucked a flower right out of her corsage! Yikes! So, we have some history!! Don and Bev were my Sunday school teachers when I was a junior in high school. The summer before they were my teachers, I went on my first vacation with them as a babysitter. And that began our lifelong friendship. For several years in high school I spent my Saturdays babysitting the Baskin kids. Really I was like a “mommy’s helper.” Don used to drive 25 minutes to pick me up on Saturdays (before I had a car). Whew! I really felt like part of their family. There were FOUR kids including twins. So lots of time I would just help around the house, or take care of the twins while mom and dad had the other two (birthday parties, ball games, etc). It was lots of fun for me. I went on vacation with them every year to the beach. It was the best. And when Rick and I were dating in high school, we made sure to stop by to see them all the night of my senior prom (and all my flowers stayed in place). πŸ™‚

The Baskins are the biggest UT fans I have ever known. They go to all the football games! When I was in college at UT, Don and Bev would often take me out to dinner (which helped so much my freshman year because I was insanely homesick) when they came up for a game. I would always go see them in their seats at EVERY game. It was so nice to see a face from home. Lots of times Don would slip me $20 or $30, which I always seemed to be in need of in college. I would try to give it back and he would insist that I take it. They really were like a second family to me! They also LOVE Rick. They always have. Don was so upset when we broke up while I was in college. Can I tell you that I think they were one of the first few people I told when Rick and I started dating again after college? So, you can imagine that they were thrilled when we got married. Don and Bev even had a couple’s shower for us – really a manly man Tool Shower for Rick. They have always done so much for me and I love them dearly.

Several years ago, Don was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. I don’t even remember knowing that he was sick, probably because he didn’t seem sick. Back in the fall, his lungs were getting bad and he was needing oxygen to help him breath. The disease he had would require that he have a double lung transplant eventually in order to live. When I realized all of this back in November I was sad and scared for the whole family. I called and talked to Danielle (the oldest) for a long time and she assured me he was going to be just fine. He has been on a transplant waiting list for at least seven months. Sometime this spring he began needing the oxygen much more regularly until he was on oxygen 24/7. It was so hard to see him struggling to breath. And scary. . .and if it was scary for me to see, I am sure it was even more scary for him to feel.

Well, thanks to the organ donor, Don got a call on Thursday while he was having lunch with Andrew and Ashley (the twins). They had a set of lungs. Rick got a text from Donnie around 2:00 saying that Don was having the transplant. I promptly called Danielle, who was getting on a plane to get to Nashville, to get details. The surgery started around 6:00 on Thursday night. It was suppose to take 8-12 hours, but they were done in an amazing 6 1/2 hours instead. God was already at work answering so many prayers. I went to the hospital later on Thursday night (9:30ish) and stayed for several hours and waited with everyone. When I got there, there must have been at least 25 people in the waiting room with the Baskin family. It was such a sweet sight. Don means so much to so many! He has a caring bridge site here that you can visit if you are interested in reading more about his story.

I almost forgot to tell you the sweetest thing in all of this. On Thursday night I was in the car with the girls telling them about “Uncle Don’s” (what they call him) new lungs and surgery. I told them we needed to pray for him and that I was going to pray right then. Addison jumped in and asked if she could pray first (very rare!). Ava Jane said she wanted to pray too. They were the sweetest most precious prayers. Addison prayed for Uncle Don to feel better and thanked God for his new lungs. And she prayed that he wouldn’t have to have that “breather thing in his nose anymore.” She was talking about his oxygen that he always had on his face. Ava Jane prayed next and said much of the same, but added, “Thank you God for Uncle Don’s new lungs. And I hope he likes them.” Too sweet. After I prayed, Addison asked to pray AGAIN! This time she thanked God for the man who gave Uncle Don his new lungs. They don’t understand much, but they do know that God hears our prayers and answers them. And they know that they love Don and want to see him get well. They have prayed for him continually since I told them on Thursday and they always ask me if I have talked to Aunt Bev or any of the kids to know how he is doing. Addison is so aware and conscious of his pain and want so badly for him to feel better. It warms my heart to see her compassionate and tender heart in times like these. And who doesn’t love to know that your child wants to talk to God!

I hope that you will join me in being an organ donor. All you have to do is mark the back of your drivers license. And it is helpful if you can let your family know your wishes too. It could be such a blessing to someone. And please join me in praying for Don and his recovery. It will be a long, hard road, but I am so grateful that he will have the chance to live again, thanks to the donor who gave Don two healthy lungs.

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4 Responses to “Thankful for Organ Donors”

  1. dju316 Says:

    Don Baskin was very lucky to get a lung transplant. Over half of the 99,000 Americans on the national waiting list will die before they get a transplant. Most of these deaths are needless. Americans bury or cremate about 20,000 transplantable organs every year. Over 6,000 of their neighbors die every year as a result.

    There is a simple way to put a big dent in the organ shortage — give organs first to people who have agreed to donate their own organs when they die.

    Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. People who aren’t prepared to share the gift of life should go to the back of the transplant waiting list as long as there is a shortage of organs.

    Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at http://www.lifesharers.org or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition.

  2. Julie Shaver Says:

    I am also passionate about organ donation. Because of her illness/infection before her death, my mom was unable to donate her organs as was her wish; however, my dad found a place where her we were able to donate her body to people who were already doctors so they could use it for research purposes. We know she would have been happy with that and we were too.

    It is my understanding that it is not enough to sign the back of your drivers license. Please make sure that your loved ones know your wishes; that is what guarantees that your organs will be donated.

    Thank you, Amy, for bringing this important issue to our attention, and God bless Don and the boy who gave him such a wonderful gift. πŸ™‚

  3. Amy Lafayette Says:

    Thanks for the commens and information from both of you. That is very helpful! Rick and I did discuss last night that it is most important to let your family members know your wishes as they will be the ones to have to really let the doctors know. πŸ™‚

  4. montee Says:

    My husband and I signed up to be organ donors about 20 years ago. Little did we know that we would have a son who may someday need a kidney. Hopefully not but he is on the fence right now. I am not sure why people feel funny about organ donation. I for one will have no use for them whenever I am promoted to Glory.

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