I'm sure many of you heard of the tragic passing of Natasha Richardson two weeks ago. The wife of Liam Neeson, mother of two, and daughter of Vanessa Redgrave passed away after a mishap on the skip slopes in Canada.
Natasha was an advocate for AIDS research, and the following was the statement released last week by The Foundation of AIDS Research:
March 19, 2009—amfAR mourns the sudden, tragic loss of the talented stage and screen actor and much loved amfAR Trustee Natasha Richardson.
Natasha Richardson joined amfAR’s board of trustees in September 2006. Most recently she was a featured speaker at the Foundation’s annual New York Gala fundraiser on February 12, 2009. A dedicated AIDS advocate, Ms. Richardson generously contributed her time and resources to amfAR over more than 15 years. In 1999, she spearheaded Unforgettable: Fashion of the Oscars, an auction of Oscar dresses that raised more than $1.5 million for AIDS research.
“Natasha was an eloquent and persuasive spokesperson for amfAR,” said Chairman of the Board Kenneth Cole. “Her unique combination of passion, grace, and intelligence made her the perfect ambassador for the fight against AIDS.”
For Ms. Richardson, HIV/AIDS was personal. Her father, the British film director Tony Richardson, died of AIDS-related causes in 1991. But her commitment to the cause was driven equally by her unfailing compassion and humanity.
Ms. Richardson’s service to AIDS organizations in the United States included work with Bailey House, Elton John AIDS Foundation, God's Love We Deliver, and Mothers' Voices. In the United Kingdom, she was involved in the Aids Crisis Trust and National Aids Trust, for which she was an ambassador. In November 2000, she was honored with amfAR's Award of Courage....
I remember watching The Parent Trap with her in it (the newer version, not the original), and thinking to myself what a cool mom she was!! I've always thought she was beautiful, and loved her in Maid in Manhattan!! I didn't follow her career much, and in my google search for articles on organ tissue donation I found out what a huge advocate she was for AIDS research. I also found the story below (not sure how reliable the information is, as it appears to be from the tabloid magazine, People):
As the loved ones of Natasha Richardson continue to mourn, a family decision made in the wake of the Tony-winning actress's sudden death on March 18 has brought a measure of comfort: After Richardson was taken off life support at Manhattan's Lenox Hill Hospital, her family requested that her organs be donated to other patients whose lives they might save.
Organ donation "is very Natasha," a family friend says in the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday. "She spent so much time fighting the stigma of AIDS; someone like that would naturally donate her organs. At least by donating her organs something good could come out of [the tragedy]."
I came across the same story on other sites like EOnline, CNN & Fox News, etc. In the midst of tragedy look at the affect one beautiful woman, and her family had on spreading the awareness/importance of organ and tissue donation!! (Let alone, all the advocacy she did for AIDS). Think of the millions of people across the world who read those words above, who may have never thought of organ donation! What a legacy she left behind!
Granted that our legacy may not be as grandiose or immortalized, but you too can leave a legacy!! You can have a similar impact on the world! First, please consider talking with your loved ones about your final wishes. It may seem a bit morbid, but it will make their potential decision easier in the future. Second, sign up to be an organ donor with your local DMV or click here to register with the Iowa Donor Network. (If you live outside of Iowa click here to find your local registry) Lastly, to make a difference in this world like Ms. Richardson did, find a cause you are passionate about and volunteer! Help make this world a better place!!!