Second Chance Blog

 

Family Support Blog Series: Our Personal Superheroes

January 30th, 2015

Recently, in our Annual Full Staff Meeting here at Gift of Life, we were tasked with creating a Superhero that represents our department. This was easy for us… we did not need to invent a fictional character because we work with real-life superheroes every day.  Below is the description of our personal superheroes… Donor Family Members.

Team Philadelphia Donor Family Members in Houston, TX, July 2014.

Team Philadelphia Donor Family Members in Houston, TX, July 2014.

Donor families have an origin story much like the stories of superheroes that we have all heard. The ability to be a donor family is born through trauma, sheer chance, and many families mention that donation feels like it was meant to be or “their destiny,” as donation embodies the spirit in which their loved one lived. Like Superheroes; donor families have the ability to make and keep a promise through donor designation and authorization.

Donor families have the super powers of compassion and selflessness. They have great courage to share their story with us as well as the greater community. Although they may look soft, broken and helpless they are brave and strong.

All of us in our roles at GLDP are “sidekicks” to our donor families. We provide them with the support they need to rise to the occasion to fulfill their destiny and become a superhero.

Donor families don’t wear a special uniform, they are everyday people, just like you or I. They are members of our community, members of our family and people that rise above the pain and despair to become “their super-selves” despite all they have been through.

Donor families save lives through honoring donor designation and authorization, by thinking of others, and saying ‘yes’ to donation. They share their stories of their loved one’s life and donation which empowers others, which in turn, saves more lives.

Thank you Donor Families!

A Special Offer for Gift of Life Volunteers

January 14th, 2015

under-the-skin

Gift of Life is excited to partner with the Arden Theatre for the world premiere of Under the Skin, a production about organ donation. The play, written by Michael Hollinger and directed by Terrence J. Nolen, will debut at the Arden Theatre (40 North 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19106) on January 15th.  Under the Skin explores the question – what does it mean to give a part of yourself to someone else?  Lou, a man dying of kidney failure, asks his estranged daughter Raina to give him one of hers, and she must decide if she can put her anger aside long enough to save his life. When Raina meets Jarrell, a young man with whom there is an instant connection, sparks fly and secrets are revealed as they grapple with the issues of forgiveness, inheritance and family.

 

Arden Theatre Company will present a special performance of Under the Skin for Gift of Life supporters and their guests at 8pm tonight, Wednesday, January 14.  This performance is the production’s final dress rehearsal and will afford you and a guest the opportunity to enjoy an exclusive performance of this show before it premieres to the general public and the press.  While this special evening is open on a “pay-what-you-can” basis with all ticket proceeds donated to Gift of Life, there is a suggested donation of $20 which you can bring the night of the performance.

 

A limited number of tickets will be available at the door this evening (January 14th) at the box office beginning at 7 p.m.

Family Support Blog Series: The 10 Best and Worst Things to Say to Someone in Grief

January 9th, 2015

Although we intend to offer support and understanding, the things we say to grieving friends may turn out to be dismissive or hurtful.  We feel awkward not knowing what to say, and their pain makes us uncomfortable.

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The WORST things to say to someone in grief:

1. At least she lived a long life; many people die young.

2. He is in a better place.

3. She brought this on herself.

4. There is a reason for everything.

5. Aren’t you over him yet? It’s time to move on.

6. You can still have another child.

7. She was such a good person; God wanted her to be with Him.

8. I know how you feel.

9. She did what she came here to do, and it was her time to go.

10. Be strong.

Why they are bad:

  • They want to fix the loss.
  • They are about our discomfort.
  • They are directive in nature.
  • They rationalize or try to explain away the loss.
  • They may be judgmental.
  • They are not about the griever.
  • They minimize the loss.
  • They put a time line on loss.

The BEST things to say to someone in grief:

1. I am so sorry for your loss.

2. I wish I had the right words, just know I care.

3. I don’t know how you feel, but I am here if I can help in any way.

4. You and your loved one will be in my thoughts and prayers.

5. My favorite memory of your loved one is…

6. I am always just a phone call away.

7. Give a hug instead of saying anything.

8. We all need help at times like this, and I am here for you.

9. I am usually up early (or late) if you need anything.

10. Say nothing; just be with the person.

Why they are better:

  • They are supportive without trying to fix the loss.
  • They recognize loss.
  • They are about feelings.
  • They are not telling anyone what to do.
  • They admit you can’t make it better.
  • They don’t ask for someone to change his/her feelings.

This list is adapted from Davis Kessler, author, Of Grief and Grieving, www.davidkessler.org

Team Philadelphia Guest Blogger 3

July 8th, 2014

Our final Team Philadelphia Guest Blogger is liver recipient, Bert Fox!

Competing in the Transplant Games means that I am alive!

In 1970, when I was 16, the doctors told my Mom that I wasn’t going to live to see 18 because I had the liver of an 80 yr old alcoholic.  That was when my 25 years of chronic active liver disease began.  I received my gift of life on 5/6/1995.  My donor’s name was Narciso Santiago.  I thank God and Narciso’s family for giving me another chance at life.  Narciso’s family decided to let him live on in others.

Fox, Bert
Now 19 years after my transplant, I tell the world that transplantation works.
The Games is an opportunity to  meet others that have fought hard to win their fight with disease and illness, just like me.  The Games is about a group of people who have won the prize of life because of the generosity of a stranger.  It’s a place where the last person coming to the “finish line” gets just as much applause as the guy who finished first.
I look forward to future Games, to meet up with friends that I have made through the years, and hope to participate in many years to come.

Bert L. Fox, Jr
Liver Transplant 5/6/95
Team Philly
Volleyball and Swimming

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Team Philadelphia Guest Blogger 3

July 8th, 2014

Our final Team Philadelphia Guest Blogger is liver recipient, Bert Fox!

Competing in the Transplant Games means that I am alive!

In 1970, when I was 16, the doctors told my Mom that I wasn’t going to live to see 18 because I had the liver of an 80 yr old alcoholic.  That was when my 25 years of chronic active liver disease began.  I received my gift of life on 5/6/1995.  My donor’s name was Narciso Santiago.  I thank God and Narciso’s family for giving me another chance at life.  Narciso’s family decided to let him live on in others.
Now 19 years after my transplant, I tell the world that transplantation works.
The Games is an opportunity to  meet others that have fought hard to win their fight with disease and illness, just like me.  The Games is about a group of people who have won the prize of life because of the generosity of a stranger.  It’s a place where the last person coming to the “finish line” gets just as much applause as the guy who finished first.
I look forward to future Games, to meet up with friends that I have made through the years, and hope to participate in many years to come.

Bert L. Fox, Jr
Liver Transplant 5/6/95
Team Philly
Volleyball and Swimming

Team Philadelphia Guest Blogger 2

July 1st, 2014

Our second Guest Blogger joins us to share his story of how transplantation works.  We are only 10 days away from the Transplant Games of America!  Share the story of Ron Boris with your friends and family, follow along with us during the Transplant Games, and let’s show the world that Transplantation Works!

Borris, Ron

“On April 25, 2009, I was given the Second Chance at Life.  On that day I made a promise to my hero, Eddie, I would be his voice and spread the word about the importance of organ donation and I would live my life to the fullest.   I believe the best way to say “thank you” to my organ donor and his family is to promote organ donation.  I was able to see my daughter graduate, walk her down the aisle and I was blessed with a grandson and I am happy to say another one on the way.  I was finally free of all machines and I was able to finally live a normal life.  My transplant has brought our family closer and I was blessed to have an addition to our family….our Donor Family whom I can’t thank enough for changing my life.

Being able to participate in the 2014 Donate Life Transplant Games of America, I am able to show people that organ donation does work and with organ donation you are able to live an enjoyable life. It is also a way to thank my donor family for the wonderful life they have given me.   Without Eddie’s generous Gift of Life, I would not be able to do half of the things I am able to do now, including participating in my 3rd U.S. Transplant Games. So with each basket I try and make, with every serve of the volleyball and with each dart I throw at the board it is done in honor of my donor, Eddie and his wonderful family.”

Ron Boris, Jr.

Heart Transplant Recipient

April 25, 2009 (Hershey Medical Center)

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