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.
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.