Moms forever: a journey from loss to hope
Two exemplary women who experienced the devastating loss of a child share their stories and tell us how a terrible tragedy can lead to the ultimate gift: organ donation.
CHICAGO, May 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Even over the phone, you can sense the maternal love that Lidia radiates with every word. Her youngest daughter hovers nearby. She is slightly anxious because she knows that her mom is talking about her little sister, who she never got to know. It is impossible for Lidia not to get excited when she remembers her little Viridiana who died tragically when a drunk driver crashed into their family car on Valentine's Day.
"She was a special little girl. She was only 11 years old and always wanted to help others. She wanted to be a singer, to have money and be able to feed and help homeless children," says Lidia, tenderly reflecting on memories of her daughter. Lidia recalls a conversation they had just weeks before the accident. "We were in Mexico and she (Viridiana) saw that on my driver's license it said I was an organ donor. I was never afraid to say yes, because -when I die- I would want my body to help other people. And Viri tells me, 'Mommy, when I die, I want to be a donor too.' " Fate was giving Lidia a sign, perhaps the most significant sign of her life.
Less than a month after the accident, doctors informed Lidia and her family that little Viridiana was brain-dead. "My husband was in a wheelchair and we were all injured. She was the apple of his eye. At the beginning we didn't want to... You think so many things...There are many myths surrounding donation that have nothing to do with reality." But their oldest son Eduardo made them realize that the best way to honor Viridiana's memory was to fulfill her wish and donate her organs. "We will not get her back. And that was what she wanted, to live on in other people." Because of the generosity of Viridiana and her family more than seven people have either been rescued from death or have seen a drastic improvement in their quality of life. Three were children.
Raiza Mendoza, Hispanic Public Relations & Community Outreach Coordinator, says: "People believe that organ donation only pertains to adults but the reality is that in the United States alone more than 1,500 children are waiting for a transplant."
Lidia adds: "The best Mother's Day gift would be to get them all together and hug them all. I know I will love them because in them I will see Viri's eyes. Now I can say that I did not have four but a dozen children!" Recently Lidia received a letter from the parents of a child who received Viridiana's heart and the families are planning to meet. "We are very excited and anxious to see him, because Viri's heart was a heart made of gold."
Like Lidia, Elena lost a child in a terrible accident, her only son Ramon. "It's sad to lose a loved one and even worse to lose a child, but there are no words to describe losing your only son. I cannot express how sad it makes me, especially with Mother's Day coming up."
Despite her loss she knows that donating her son's tissues ensured his life did not end the day of his accident and gave her the strength to go on. "I still receive news that one of his corneas was given to someone in Canada and the other to someone in California. A woman who received his knee ligament has thanked me because it improved her life and now she can walk."
"I want to say to other moms who are going through a difficult time like I did that they should not be afraid. When we die, we no longer need our body. It's selfish to let the body just go without giving someone in need the greatest gift one can give as mother: the gift of life," says Lidia.
Elena concludes: "I feel the satisfaction that my son lives on in other people, that he gave them hope to have a better life. I thank God for giving me such a wonderful son who continues to help people, even if he never met them. Let's remember that being a donor is giving a better life to the people who need it."
If you wish to register as a donor or you want to know more about organ donation, go to www.giftofhope.org or call 630-758-2744.
About Gift of Hope
Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network is a not-for-profit organ procurement organization that coordinates organ and tissue donation and provides donor family services. Since 1986, Gift of Hope has coordinated donations that have saved the lives of more than 18,000 organ transplant recipients and improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of tissue transplant recipients. Gift of Hope works with 180 hospitals and serves 12 million residents in its donation service area.
SOURCE Gift of Hope
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