10 September 2009

The Ultimate Charity

Alexandria Kai Ballentine 1989-2000

Organ donation is something many of us think about only when getting our driver's licenses... But today I am asking you to think about it.
You may wonder why I am writing about this uncomfortable subject, and I will tell you that it is from my own personal experience. I am an advocate of donation because I am a donor mother. My 11-year old daughter, Alex, was killed in 2000 when she was hit by a car. We had discussed donation about 6 months before she died after we'd seen Michael Jordan's “Share Your Life, Share Your Decision” commercial on TV. So I knew what to do when I was asked that difficult question. Yes, she wanted to donate her organs, and so we did. Her heart went to a 2 year old boy, her liver to a 9 year old boy, and she also donated both kidneys, her pancreas, and her corneas. She saved 5 lives.
The number of people needing a transplant continues to rise faster than the number of donors. About 3,700 transplant candidates are added to the national waiting list each month. Each day, about 77 people receive organ transplants. However, 18 people die each day waiting for transplants that can't take place because of the shortage of donated organs. There are now more than 92,000 people on the waiting list and each of us could save or help as many as 50 people by being an organ and tissue donor.
What is it that keeps people from donating? Usually it is ignorance or fear and for this, knowledge is the cure. Please click on the Donor Alliance link to the upper right of this post, under our Just-Be-Causes. On this site you can read all about the history of organ donation, the processes it entails, and read some of the amazing stories of both donor and recipient families.
Our mission of raising awareness for organ donation has turned into more than just talk. Ken and I are planning a cross country bicycle trip - The Just-Be-Causes Bike Ride - next spring to really get our message out. We will be generating donations for Donor Alliance as well, but mostly we will be talking to people and telling them how very important their decision is.
To help make our journey possible, we have received a very generous offer from a small company in Michigan called Terra Trikes. Instead of riding our old bikes and risking not making the entire trip, the folks at Terra have offered us a two-for-one deal! If we buy one trike, they will supply us with the second one at no cost. We would love nothing more than to take them up on their deal, so we are now trying to raise the $1500 for the purchase. If you would like to help us reach our goal and be a part of our cause, please contact us!! Our email address is Jballentine68@gmail.com. (Below is a picture of the model of trike we hope to be riding.)Check out their website: TerraTrikes


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