You never know the lives you touch... The funniest thing was that the email started with "I don't know if you remember me..." It came out-of-the-blue from my precious little second cousin Katie. I can see why she might question my ability to remember her -- Mom's side is a very prolific family and there must be 80 of them. I don't see them nearly as often as I should -- mostly Christmas or other big celebrations... But they always make me feel so very special. While I was waiting for my beautiful lungs, they got together and sent me a big care package -- CDs and books and videos and cards and kid's drawings and fun things to do... And I heard stories of how they rejoiced and cried when they heard I got my lungs... My cousins have always treated me like I've conquered the world -- they make it easy to feel loved. These are their kids.
Katie and three other precious second cousins joined me and my team: Kara, Kristen and Lauren. Their families came to cheer us on... The top picture, left to right is Lauren, Katie, Kara and Kristen right before the start of the climb. The next picture is of them resting in a stairwell -- obviously their intent was not a record-breaking time! The last picture is them at the top with their medals... We even got them a little time on Channel 5 news on the Sunday of the Hustle!!!
I was so proud and honored to have them on my team this year! This is part of the email Katie sent me:
I don't know if you remember me, but my name is Katie ******, I'm Patti ******'s daughter, granddaughter of Betty ****, etc. I know that you have a team for the Hustle up the Hancock in February, and I was very interested in joining that team. I got my two friends interested in the Hustle as well, and on November 1st, we plan on registering for it. Is there anything special I need to know in order to sign up to be Kari's Klimbers? I would just love to be on your team.
Because of you and the stories I have heard from my mother, family, and even the media about you and your story, Organ Donation has taken over my life. Volunteers will come to my school to pass out bumper stickers and buttons to kids about signing up to be an Organ Donor, and I always end up talking to them. I have even written two school reports on Organ Donation and how important it is. And I always use you and Kari as a prime example of how amazing it is to receive the gift of life. I am always preaching to people about Organ Donation, having my friends sign their license and urge others to do so as well by using your story and two other stories of people I knew who's lives have been saved, including my next door neighbor's infant.
I just want to let you know that I am extremely excited to sign up for the race this year (last year's was completely booked by the time I decided to do it), and I wanted to let you know how much of an inspiration you and Kari have become in my life and how close I feel to the both of you by spreading your story. Thank you for opening up my eyes and showing me how the gift of life is the greatest gift a person could ever hope to receive. Thank you for making me a donor.
You just never know the lives you touch. You never know who is listening to your story, or what they're doing with it. Is it any surprise that I sat at my computer with tears rolling down my cheeks after I got Katie's email?!?! After the climb, Katie wrote a beautiful little opinion piece about organ donation for her school newspaper -- when I get her permission, I'll post that too...