Finding faith in organ donation

It’s during this time of year that people often reflect on their spirituality, faith and the extent to which they … Continued

It’s during this time of year that people often reflect on their spirituality, faith and the extent to which they give back to others. For me, it brings me to thoughts of one of the greatest gifts I gave in the face of one of my greatest losses.

In June 2006, I lost my husband Dr. Albert A. Alexander. On that day in the hospital in Connecticut, two angels from an organization called LifeChoice Donor Services, Inc. approached me and asked if I had considered organ donation. I told them that I had never given organ donation much thought. They explained what it meant to be a donor and how many other people’s lives could be saved if I chose to donate. A

lbert and I had never discussed his wishes on the subject of organ donation, but in that moment, I thought about how Albert had lived his life as a very loving, giving, active, healthy, spiritual individual. I knew that donating his organs would be one of the greatest gifts I could possibly give on his behalf. Also, his legacy would continue to live on through others.

Nancy Tyson-Alexander, who serves a board member for LifeChoice Donor Services, donated her husband’s organs after his death in 2006.

As a result of my decision to his organs, more than 100 other lives were saved. Throughout the entire ordeal, I leaned on my faith, family and friends as a support system to get through the hard times- and there were many. Born a Baptist, I now attend a United Methodist Church. My religion views organ donation very favorably. In fact, after my experience, some of the other members became registered organ donors. I like to think that sharing my experience has helped to save even more lives.

Ultimately, I feel the entire experience has allowed me to do something incredibly meaningful and it brought me closer to God in the process. I believe my husband is at peace in heaven. Every day, knowing a piece of him lives on in someone else, gives me great comfort and solace.

My personal mission of spreading the important message about organ donation now extends beyond the church as I currently serve on the board of directors for LifeChoice Donor Services and frequently participate in community events that raise awareness about the organization’s mission.

This time of year, when so many people are thinking about gift giving, I ask you to pause and give the concept of organ donation some thought. People always hope they’ll never be in a position to make such a decision, but life is unpredictable and you never know what the next day will bring. Just when you don’t expect it, you may be called on to make a choice that will dramatically impact whether other people live or die. I hope you choose life.

  • SODDI

    There are an awful lot of people getting rich off of free organ donations. That’s why hospital administrators hustle you to get those papers signed.

    They get your sad heart full of the image of the poor litle girl your organs will save, meanwhile they’re counting the hundreds of thousands of dollars in downstream revenues your cadaver will bring.

    That’s why they are pushing to make the organ donor status default, making you and your kin have to opt out BEFORE the decision is made for you. It’s the next step before they make it mandatory.

  • PhillyJimi1

    Really? What a sad world view. Do you only see the harmful skin cancer radiation coming from the sun on a beautiful sunny spring day? Do you only see that unselfishly helping your fellow man as a lost opportunity to profit? Should only the rich be able to afford donated organs?

    I am an atheist but I understand Nancy Tyson-Alexander, experience of a spiritual type joy in knowing that via death there still has been a path to life and an improvement of life.

    Organ donation should be mandatory, there are no good reason’s it shouldn’t be. You don’t need them any more let someone else use them. If you believe you god doesn’t want you to share your organs once you’re dead, then find a better god. There sure are plenty of them to pick from.

  • Secular1

    Again faith, as Hitchens put it “Spoils every thing”. The particular church that Ms. Tyson-Alexander goes to has a more porgressive view on organ donation. To go to those musty old filthy tomes to find guidance on these matters is stupid, or just an exercise in redundancy. One is predisposed to donating or is not, for whatever reason. Consulting the tomes is more to look for in them tomes a rationalization for your decision, already made. Perhaps your predisposition, is driven by the faith drivel you are already bought into. Those books were written by folk who were by and large run of the mill iron age ignoramuses, who had no means to know even 0.1% of teh technology that we are used to today.

  • SODDI

    If it’s MANDATORY then make it FREE – all the way down the line.
    That means the transplant surgeon is not going to be making his 5-figure fee. Is that OK?

    If you volunteer to donate your liver, they figure that’s carte blanche to take whatever they think they can, skin, corneas, bone, veins… That’s a big medical business, harvesting bits and pieces for other uses. Tens of thousands of dollars changing hands – all from your FREE donation.

    Those people should forgo their fees and resale profits too, right? And the hospital should forgo their cut, too.

    Bear in mind that even if you’ve donated your cadaver, generating potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars for the hospital, if you owe the hospital any money whatsoever they will come after your family for that money. And they WILL slap a lien on your house for that money.

    Hospitals, doctors and medical companies are making MILLIONS – maybe BILLIONS from these kind-hearted donations. “60 Minutes” did an expose of this.