My dearest Carrie, what a special young woman you are. So kind, so compassionate, you inspire me to be a better person. I have posted on FB the news article of Mr. Menard. To those who do not know me, I am a Kidney donor. I had a very dear friend in Tech School named Bonnie Oien. We actually went to the same High School but didn't get to know each other until we had both graduated and moved to East Grand Forks, MN to go to the Technical School there (AVTI back in the day). We graduated from Tech school, went on our merry way, I got married, she got married, life happens and we lost track of each other for all practical purposes except the Christmas card updates. Well, as you know, our God is an AWESOME God. In July of 2004 I saw Bonnie at an All School Reunion. We talked about life, my kids, she and her husband were not able to have children and suffered 8 (yes 8) miscarriages. Her miscarriages were a direct result of her Kidney Disease. She told me that she was on a transplant list for a Kidney. I was shocked, that kind of thing doesn't happen to people you know, it happens to someone else. She had been on the list for nearly 4 years and no Kidney. She and her husband lived their lives waiting every moment of every day for "That call". I left our conversation astonished, hurting for her and wondering what I could do. Miraculously, I was the only person she shared her Kidney Disease story with. Now there were hundreds and hundreds of people she talked to that week but she just wanted life to be normal, to forget that she was awaiting a Kidney transplant. I went home, I prayed about it, and then I wrote Bonnie asking how I could test for her. She humbly replied with a contact name and phone number of her transplant coordinator. I called, went to the clinic, had a little blood drawn and viola.... I was done with the test. A couple weeks later I got a call from the transplant coordinator stating that I was a match for Bonnie. So what did that really mean? I was a match. What do I do next I asked. Brian said, if you would like, we can call Bonnie and give her the good news. Crying, I said absolutely, can we call her now. The transplant coordinator and I did a 3 way call with Bonnie. She and I cried, then we laughed and said we should have known we would be a match with all the Boonesfarm Wine we drank together while at Tech School. We still kid around about that to this day. So it was out in the open, our next step would be more testing (bloodwork) and then one day, we would both be lying next to each other in an OR with Dr. Mistry would would do our transplant. I cannot tell you how it changed my life. I remember going home from the hospital thinking, I just want to live in this bubble for the rest of my life. I had such peace and I was so full of God's graces that it was like another world. Now that may sound corny, but it is true. I have never felt peace like that before, EVER! The kidney was working immediately and Bonnie too would have new life. I am active, healthy, lead a busy life, and can do anything you can do. Another one of God's graces is that there has never been a recorded case of a Kidney donor actually needing a Kidney in their lifetime. Now, sometime that will happen but just think of that of all the transplants. Bonnie leads a very normal life working full time in a large health organization in a highly regarded leadership role. God gave us 2 Kidney's so we could donate 1. So here is your challenge people, the reward is the same, whether you know the person or not. I would not have thought about donating until I learned about my friend needing a transplant. Now that I have donated life to someone, I can tell you I would do it all over again for a complete stranger. We are all children of God. I wish Kidney's could grow back so I could donate again, but they don't! There are so many that need your help. Won't you please, start with a prayer. Ask God how you can make a difference. If not a kidney, how about bone marrow? Did you know that you can donate part of your liver? What about end of life? Let your family know your wishes. Be an organ donor. Make a living will today. Tell your family, tell your doctors what you want. Speak out to those around you. For those of you who don't think that 1 person can make a difference? Well, tell that to Jesus! Look at the difference he made. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13. Peace be with you!
I ask you again...are you an organ donor?