Forever and Ever.
I just lost my little brother. Forever. He's my only brother, my only sibling for that matter. It''s so unreal knowing he is never coming home. It is just completely unbelievable that he is GONE. I don't even know what to think in this moment. All I know is that, I know, hes gone away from us for now, but his memories will always remain close to my heart forever.
This boy was a rare one, one with an enormous and caring heart. He had the unbelievable ability of making friends everywhere he went, as well as the power to make everyone who met him smile. He had a great soul and I know he is looking out for us right now, or at least we can hope. I now can only remember all the great memories and experiences we shared throughout childhood and growing up, his laugh, and most of all his ability to make us all laugh at any given moment will be truly missed forever. All the petty nonsense that may have been thought of one day, disappeared with the time.
There are not many words to express the loss of my brother, maybe none at all, but when I think about it, and start trying to go back through his life hoping to pick up the pieces and find everything that he left us with. The memories, thoughts and other things along the way. I sit here knowing he would want us to be happy down here, right now, while hes up there looking down on us. While he is breathing free and no longer needing to worry about anything, including some dumb oxygen tank, pancreatic enzymes, or Cystic Fibrosis at all, which he had chosen to eliminate from his vocabulary at a young age.
I know for a fact he is up there hoping we don't stay sad for too long.
We have to remember he is happy now. Free. Healthy. We have to remember the times he was the most happy and the times he made us happy along the way. The days throughout his life that he will just never let us forget, those are the memories. Although all this might seem impossible for some of us at this moment in time. And clearly it is going to be like this for a while. Someday, sometime, we will all be together once again, but this time, this is what was meant to be. We don't know why, but there is no more suffering. I love you Josh, more than you would ever know, because what sister doesn't tell their brother they stink all the time, isn't it all in code? Thanks for stealing my toys, letting me tattle on you for just about everything I thought you did wrong, having all those crazy ideas we had to try, being my sidekick just about my entire life, especially when we were both in the hospital for IV's at the same time and keeping my friends and I on our toes with your flat out awesome craziness. The world will never be the same without you, and our family will always be missing a few slices in out little family pizza. Think of all the people who never got to know Josh. Now that is a sad thing to think about. For most of us (friends and family) he shared his life and memories with us! How lucky are we?
Here goes the days to come, while everything we see reminds us of you, only to hope we will meet again someday.
I know it will be hard to remember not to text you or mom when I see something you HAVE TO HAVE, but maybe I can just think it and you will know that I'm thinking about you. I would like everyone to know that Josh was so strong at the end, even while his Cystic Fibrosis lungs had other plans to debilitate him more and more everyday, he still let that smile and laugh show through the oxygen chord and exhaustion. He cherished his final days with his close family and friends, as well as sidekick Popeye. Josh passed away very peacefully at the Whatcom Hospice House after staying with us there for just under a week. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity for him, as well as my family, to be able to stay there. To relax in a clean and stress-free environment where some of the greatest and most caring nurses I have ever met in the world (and I know my nurses) took amazing care to make sure he was always comfortable and had what he needed. It was unbelievably comforting knowing all we needed to worry about was spending time with Josh, and they took care of the rest.
If you do consider making a contribution in Josh's name we would love it if you would donate to either the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and/or the Whatcom Hospice Foundation. (links to online donation at the bottom) Cystic Fibrosis if going to continue taking lives of young people like my brother until it is stopped and I don't want anyone to have to go through what my family is going through right now. For his Obituary, please see below:
January 5, 1991 - April 16, 2012
Josh passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on April 16, 2012 after a courageous battle with Cystic Fibrosis. Josh was born on January 5, 1991 in Bellingham to Mike and Lora Olinger.
He loved riding his Harley, carving, welding, playing his guitar, motocross, and mainly just being awesome. He had a smile that would light up the room and was known by many for having an enormous heart.
He is survived by his parents Mike and Lora, his sister Christina, Aunt Jyll, cousin and best friend C.J., cousin Makenzie, grandparents Illa and Richard Ennis, Popeye, Fuego, and countless friends and family.
We will celebrate Josh's life at Hannegan Speedway on Saturday, April 21st starting at 4 pm.
I would like to thank everyone for the prayers from the past up until today, while Josh was in the hospital throughout the past year, lately, and especially this week. We would not be able to cope without all of your wonderful support, stopping by the house, sending a text, or just thinking about us. Thank you so much. Words cannot convey our gratitude.
Much love to everyone. Please please please hug your loved ones. Even the dogs. <3 ~ Nina
This is no April Fool's Joke.
Currently more than 110,000 men, women and children are awaiting organ transplants to save their lives. Thousands more are in need of tissue and cornea transplants to restore their mobility and sight. Register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor today and provide hope to those who wait.
Since it is April Fools day. Here's a couple of my favorite jokes from the internet. But don't forget to sign up to be an organ donor! In case of the unfortunate event of your passing, you will be able to give life to sometimes over 7 people. People who will die on the transplant list otherwise. People who are alive because they are fighters, and they have hope that their organ will come soon. What an honor to give such a selfless gift in a time of such tragedy, and live on through another (or many others) who will be truly grateful everyday and continuously thank you and your family for giving them life. These 100,000+ people will not make it without these organs, and only encouraging others to be an organ donor can make a difference. So ignore the myths and talk to your family today. Be a hero.
"Dont take your organs to heaven...heaven knows we need them here!" Really.. what are you going to do with them?
Some April Fools:
Google Street Roo - Exploring the Outback one Bounce at a time.
The YouTube Collection: The Magic of YouTube in Your Hands
Needing an update on Josh? This one's a little crazy, but just read it.
My brother finally had a bit of an awesome-ness thing going on lately. He was given a tracheotomy, so he can use the vent through a hole in his neck instead of having that annoying tube in his mouth, because I can relate to that tube thing, IT'S NOT COOL. We are hoping that this will help, or do something, anything? K, Keep reading..
Oh hello, yes it gets better, with the trach in, his mouth is free, and his face, and his head, and his angry at the tube stuck in his face attitude, and since that all sounds like so much fun, you would have to imagine that with all that being gone, how he must feel. I mean I know how he feels, but, just think about it. The perfect comment today, happily said, was by the respiratory therapist who walked in and stated "He looks like a human being with that [vent] thing out!" lol. It helps 190% that he can wear his glasses and mostly that he currently isn't puffed up like the Michelin man. (Although being the stick figure he has always been it wasn't a bad look.
So today he starts off by smiling when he sees you come in, as well as turns his head to figure out who it is entering his room. Then he proceeds to try and talk, but he makes no noise (since the vent is still in, so that doesn't change the talking thing till' the whole vent is gone) So he is trying to talk and we are trying to figure out what he is talking about, which is really hard mind you, and he has the same frustrated face as he did before all this happened, so it's definitely Josh, thats for sure. (at least I know now that he didn't get switched while moving between hospitals, or I'm just hoping that he remembers that I am the greatest sister on earth) Later, he thought he could write, and he took the pen and went to town… and there on the paper, after his "feeling accomplished" face was on, when he handed my mom the clip-board back, were a few scribbles, and maybe a circle, but it turns out he writes exactly like his sister did when she was on the ventilator, it must run in family. I for one have never written that horribly in my life
So I had a little fun with this update since he was having a good time today and was happy with the visitors he had. Also he was doing incredibly better since the trach was placed paired with the medications being tapered all combined almost turned him into, well him. Even though I sucked at being a lip reading translator I tried my best, but just so you all know, he actually looks just like Josh, so you should go visit him before he comes all the way back to his all normal Josh-like self and stuff. Because then he will be making fun of us all and being rude and stuff. Lol, just kidding.
My Mom and him are down there alone now plotting things I think, so I was trying to think of things that might make him happy, and right now I cant think of anything except for like Fuego (which we have yet to sneak into the hospital) homemade get well/rock on posters and things like that, anything that shows some love for his room. It's ICU so they have some restrictions, but I saw a room with balloons so who knows.
KEEP THOSE GOOD VIBES COMING
If you want to comment your phone number I will let you know more about visiting and such. (it will not show on my blog, theres also the email button on the top right side)
I may have almost lost hope, but its still hangin in there. Those prayers, thoughts, etc, they are getting it done!
I have been meaning to post this awesome story, provided by Donate Life America. On October 11th, 2011 they announced the 100 Millionth Organ, Eye and Tissue Donor Registered in the U.S.
That is so incredible because "The United States can now boast that 100 million Americans — roughly 42 percent of the adult population –are registered as organ, eye and tissue donors in state donor registries." At least I got it up before October was over! These 100 Million people all signed up to donate their organs in the random chance the sudden end of their life could save many other human beings in need. Thank you to the 100 million, because I already was given my second chance from someone just like you. Caring, sharing, and loving. Against all odds.
Waiting List Statistics as of October 2011:
- 112,178 Patients Waiting
- 61,767 Multicultural Patients
- 1,746 Pediatric Patients
- 28,665 Organ Transplants Performed in 2010
- 14,510 Organ Donors in 2010
So for those of you looking for another update on my brother Josh. Here's the deal. He is currently at the UW, and was doing awesome until a night or two ago when they removed his ventilator. This was when he started going downhill. He was having a rough time getting comfortable and breathing on his own.
The doctors thought he was going back on the ventilator but gave it a 50/50 chance. (glass half full?) They were waiting for the latest blood gas test results because Josh is now off of the bi-pap machine and on straight oxygen, breathing on his own. They thought the levels would be off the charts and they were not, they aren't great, but they aren't worse. So that's always a good thing!
They are going to wait and see what happens with the next blood gas. We need people to pray for his levels to go down, since his CO2 level was through the roof. If it does come down, he can remain on oxygen without having to replace the ventilator. After that, once his mental status is okayed, he can start talking to transplant doctors. Maybe even thinking about an evaluation. There is still hope.
Josh, his family, and friends need prayers, good thoughts, hope, and anything else you can send our way to shows some support. As the support has been overwhelming, and the idea that Josh has been more than a miracle his entire life especially these past two weeks, I just want to say thanks. Though we are still asking any and ALL thoughts and prayers we can get, I want to say THANK YOU THANK YOU thank you, on behalf of me and my family, and of course Josh, for everything. For those of you that have seen him, he needs us right now, and he will fight if he can, and he will fight if he knows we are here, right with him. Because we are.
So I am horrible friend! I totally, and completely, forgot to tell you guys how cool Jamie is lately. (well like always) I will try and keep it short BUT, she sent a story into the Reader's Digest contest "Share Your Story" and it literally almost instantly became an editors pick. Not only that, its been hangin' on the SECOND PAGE OF THE MOST POPULAR STORIES! That's out of A TON of them! The prize for the contest is having your story published in the Reader's Digest, how cool is that!? There are even cash prizes for the top entries, but who cares, it's the readers digest! Besides that, she also got published in a newspaper article about this contest and her submission. YAY! GO JAMIE! So go vote now! And everyday after that until November 15th, its EASY! Below are the links so you too can check out more of her, and this contests awesome-ness!
- News article!! - The article written about her Reader's Digest contest submission!
- Readers Digest Facebook App - Where you can Vote for her story everyday. Find the story below If you would like to read it! Don't forget to vote!
- http://youtu.be/J8dbN8_TkAk - Jamie's YouTube Video Associated with her amazing lung transplant and story.
"28 Breaths a Minute"
I was born in 1979 with the lung disease Cystic Fibrosis(CF). I was not expected to live past the age of eight. In 2007 CF had destroyed my lungs and I was dying. I was on 6+ liters of Oxygen and my lungs were functioning at 11%. I was denied by almost every transplant center for a double lung transplant because I cultured Cepacia. I didn't give up. We flew 2000 miles to Pittsburgh PA. where I was evaluated by the only center willing. After 5 days of testing my lungs could not continue breathing. My husband chose to put me on a ventilator while the doctors/surgeons decided whether to put me on the transplant list. I was put on the transplant list on 12/07/07. Just three days later on I received the gift of life from my donor. I will celebrate my 4 year transplant anniversary December 2011. I believe the hardest things in life are worth fighting for.
http://youtu.be/J8dbN8_TkAk - Jamie's YouTube Video Associated with her amazing lung transplant and story.
My friend Addie, who also has Cystic Fibrosis and had a transplant, has been working with her local Donate Life chapter, to promote organ donation. Which is obviously super important to A LOT of people. DUH, I mean just look at us! We are alive because our organ donors gave us their lungs when we were in need, they gave us their lungs for us to breathe, and now we have a entire second chance to live our lives! So Addie is giving back!
She is doing a fundraiser for the Donate Life NorthWests' Lifesavers Breakfast. I will add a blurb from her page but for the rest, more info, AND TO SUPPORT HER, please click the Link Below.
From Addie's fundraising page - "….Each year DONATE LIFE holds a breakfast called "LIFESAVER'S BREAKFAST" it is one of the most inspiring & moving fundraisers i have ever attended. I was fortunate enough to attend one year before transplant, then also last year just barely after my transplant!! The emotions & amazing stories i heard, i will never forget. It's educational to teach you about Organ/Tissue/Eye donation & how important it is... How many lives YOU or someone you love could possibly save. Or, what if you need a life saving surgery one day.. who knows who will help save YOUR life…."
Now go to her site to read the rest! She says it better than me. PS: Watch the video below (or on Addie's page) because it will be the beginning of the changing of your life, as well as, part of the reason Addie is doing what she is doing. Thanks for reading! She has lived through CF, she has seen and lived through what it can do, she has lost close friends. Help her out, for a BEYOND great cause, because she is giving back thankfully since she was given her lifesaving gift. Now show some support!! Click here for Addie's fundraising page at FirstGiving
My brother is doing so much better its a freaking miracle. The doctors here were almost sure he wouldn't be able to come out of this. (we were all 101% more hopeful and than the doctors at the first horrible hospital we were in were it was more than exhausting to be shut down all day, especially for our family and friends awaiting to hear good results)
Although still on the ventilator. Josh has now been awake and able to move his legs a bit, squeeze with his hands and wiggle his toes once or twice. He was moved a few days ago from Bellingham to Seattle, to Harborview medical center. Since he has been there he has made some major progress. After confirming brain function and that there are no issues in that department they are working to transfer again, this time him to the University of Washington medical center so that he can be near the Cystic Fibrosis and lung doctors. He will be in good hands!
Prayers work! Keep em' comin'! I want to send out a HUGE THANK YOU to all of our family, friends, and everyone else who thought of us. Thank you all for the thoughs, prayers, food, coming out to the hospital to sit with us and be there for support and everyone for just supporting Josh and my family it has been unbelievable! I did not forget those texts that have been flowing into my phone sharing hope and support either, THANK YOU ALL AS WELL!
Thanks again and I will update soon!
Help me out here! My brother and family need every good thought and prayer from everyone who reads this. There is still a good chance he will wake up.
& things). January 5th he will be 21 years old! He has been in that "rough patch" of CF for some time now and has started needed oxygen to help him breathe. As well as getting closer to trying to get on the lung transplant list.
He recently went into the hospital for a clean-out (normal I.V. antibiotic treatment) and it took a turn for the worse. He aspirated and went into cardiac arrest leaving him on life support until something happens otherwise.
Although there was hope given to the crowd of family and friends gathered in the ICU last night, his situation is still on the rough side. Besides waiting for more testing, and results, we are asking for any prayers, good thoughts, and love you can send his way, and also our way, his family, and friends while we wait for news.
Thanks and lots of love.
To my bro: hang in there we are all pulling for ya, theres a world of people out there who love you more than you know. <3
For those of you who didn't get the chance to meet my brother personally I grabbed a few quick pics I could find so you'll know who the prayers are for
Rest in Peace Steve Jobs
"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. ... Stay hungry. Stay foolish."
Click below to read this awesome article for some very cool products from Steve Jobs career with Apple Inc. that you probably have never seen before.
Today was a sad day for Apple Computers, as well as the world, and for computers in general I believe. Steve Jobs, Co-Founder of Apple Inc. creator and inventor of many amazing desktop computers, laptops, phones, tablets, personal music players and the like, passed away today after only 56 years after only 56 years of age. I know that is a lot in Cystic Fibrosis years, but he didn't have Cystic Fibrosis, he was fighting other health battles. He is and was an amazing person, genius, inventor, and someone I would have loved to had the chance to meet.
I wasn't always a fan of Apple computers, they were expensive for one, but they also weren't "mainstream" for some time. They were the unknown and it was almost a leap to purchase something 'different', something Apple. My fist iPod I got when I was young as a gift, it was the most awesome thing I had ever gotten and I had music everywhere, in the car, on the plane, and solitaire was the bomb! After my first laptop, the white iBook from about 5 years ago, I was hooked. It was nothing like using the school computers, which too were Apple, it was mine, it as new, and it was perfect. Having a PC desktop my entire life I quickly noticed that this computer did what it was suppose to, easier, faster, and was just brilliant, not to mention the amazing prolonged battery life and the lightweight simple design of the laptop, it was just "different".
I had to write something for Steve Jobs today, since I always awaited the day of a Keynote speech so I could hear all about the new gadgets and features of the electronic devices that I would continuously want so bad. Things that soon after hearing I knew could and would soon change the world. Or at least change the productivity and excitement of the world as we knew it up until that moment. Well, they all did just that, every device, every upgrade, every new feature, it changed something. Mostly everything. Since I am now a full on apple fan, I am saddened to hear of Steve's passing and send good thoughts and prayers to his family and friends, as well as his co-workers as he was such a large part of Apple Inc. I know that his passing will be more than sadness for them. Although I will still await the keynotes and releases of Apple's new products, it really won't ever be the same.
I am sure that for what and who is left of Apple Inc. that Steve left them with the abilities to continue on his legacy as well as follow in his footsteps. Rock on Steve Jobs, because thats all you have done while you were here, you rocked on!
"Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."
I purchased a Smugmug gallery in October of 2 years ago for my birthday. Mostly to try and improve my photography, but turned out to that it was used more for sharing photos and adventures. Gotta love sharing!! Either way, best purchase ever. I have been trying my best to keep it up since my transplant soooo…..
In other words - I've been updating my photos people!!
GO CHECK EM' OUT!
First off, a big THANK YOU to all the people who supported my team by donating money, visiting my garage sale, and for just being awesome.
Sorry for the length but I had to write sort of a preface about the journey up to this ride, even though most of you know the story. Only weeks before my lungiversary, I searched the internet for an athletic event to show off my brand new lungs and the abilities they have gifted me for the end of our first year together. I found the Trek Tri-Island, held by the American Lung Association, heard of anything more perfect than that? I think not!
Just over a year ago I had been sitting on the couch with 5+ liters of oxygen, under 17% lung capacity and much less than perfect oxygen saturation. With that, I was barely able to walk 30 feet to the bathroom and back. Not to mention the multiple antibiotics: IV, oral, and inhaled, that I took around the clock, as well as much needed chest therapy to loosen the mucus. Other things I needed to live included a Bi-Pap that I wore while sleeping so I could breathe easier and receive extra oxygen. At the same time my feeding tube ran at full force, stuffing me with extra calories and protein, hoping to help me gain weight and fight off the infection. Lastly the constant, non-stop coughing and bringing up garbage that plagued the inside of my lungs. Which were suppose to be clear, dry and empty for breathing and moving oxygen. All of that on repeat, day in and day out, fighting, and waiting for something to happen. That was my life.
That was only one year ago.
Then the phone rang. I was back on the transplant list, and the real waiting began. Waiting on one more phone call that could completely transform my life. Not soon after the first, the second call came, they found a match, they had new lungs for me, and off we went.
It wasn't all fun and games right out of surgery, as to be expected, but the thought of getting new lungs was so beyond belief that nothing could ever ruin that. I knew what to expect but the lung transplant recovery itself seemed to go a lot smoother than I had originally thought, or than what was to come. Even though there had been some complications with the lungs, contributing to 3 weeks awake on the ventilator, it was incredibly worth it (DUH) and didn't seem as bad once it was all over. When I was finally released I went right to walking and was raring to go, I had a new breathe of life, literally, and a new start. I have the ICU's awesome team to thank, for getting me up and walking even with the ventilator in, but who knew that was to prepare me for a bike Trek like I hoped to participate in for my 1 year anniversary.
Only a week after leaving the hospital, in pretty much what I thought was tip top shape, walking, feeling great, and all that. I began having stomach pain, more than I could handle. (and I am no stranger to pain) To the emergency room I went, waking up to the news that I needed surgery, right away, only weeks out of my lung transplant. Into surgery I rolled once again. Waking up, only this time in pain, agony, and unable to walk once again. I had to fight again just a bit harder this time, but once I was back to walking, I was unstoppable.
Who would have thought in only 8 months I could ride a bike, let alone pedal it for 50 miles, or 60 miles over 3 days in the San Juan Islands. A place where hills outnumber downhill and flat by close to 75%. I know I'm exaggerating but with my prior hill riding experience at like none, it seemed a bit much for my toothpick legs. Besides that, my team and I didn't have any spare time when it came to fundraising for the ride, since our much needed donations were still rolling in days before, and even after, money which we needed in order to participate, I become worried we would not make it. Either way, lateness and all, I was set on riding the Trek Tri-Island, and I did just that!
Besides the 3:00am wakeup that my mom, good friend Allysa, Rachel, who flew from California, and I had to conquer in order to arrive on time for the first day. We made it and shuffled onto to the ferry without much problem. The first day we rode on Orcas island, which had the most hills, and the bike computers came out saying we rode about 26 miles. Which took me almost twice as long as it did to do the 50 mile ride I had done early in the month. I knew the hills were to blame, besides, I found out how horrible I am at riding downhill, it seems like va simple thing, but I actually end up going SLOWER downhill than I do uphill. How you may ask? Good question.
The next day we didn't have to be up as early, but I was already tired since I kept everyone in the tent up until it was time to take my pills. (I may have actually kept everyone in the camp up.. but I wouldn't know my hearing isn't good ) Anyway, we were off to Lopez island for the second day of the trek, which is a smaller island with apparently much less hills. I did notice, but I think these islands were just meant to be the death of bicyclists or people not so fond of hills. (Like myself) It got to the point where I was happy to go up a hill as long as I didn't have to go down one on the other side, a bit sad. But I'm still new at this cycling thing.
I have to say though, the Trek Tri-Island was one of the coolest, well organized, multi-day events I have ever been lucky enough to be a part of. Part of this awesomeness included the amazing people involved in running the Trek, the sweeper guys, the support vehicles, photographers, cheerleaders, bike mechanics, and all of the participants of course! The other cool thing is that, awesomely enough, it was all for the American Lung Association, so it just was perfect. (You all know how I feel about lungs) The food was great, the planning was perfect, the ferry's were a bonus on either side of the day riding bikes, since I love ferries, and the camp location was awesome also (for a bike trek).
The last day was another one of the earlier mornings, since the camp was at a school and we had to be out by 7:00am, packed up and gone. We were to ride San Juan Island that day and we did, although our team cut it short to make an earlier ferry to get back to the other side as Rachel also needed to catch a plane. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to join the group of people that rode this 3 day ride. I am more than grateful to have been given the gift of these new lungs so that things like this are possible for me, while getting up from the couch seemed like a such a chore only a year ago.
So there I was, without my oxygen tank, among free of the other things I needed before my transplant, and only a handful (literally) of medications to take a few times a day, brand new lungs, my friends, and my bike! Besides the fact that I had never imagined myself being able to do something so awesome so soon after transplant, I am glad that the event also gave back to an organization that rocks. One of which everyone needs and should help in raising awareness for. Fighting for clean air, lungs (which we all have). We all need to breathe to live, and because it is more than important for everyone who lives in this world, having clean air. GO AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION & GO TREK TRI-ISLAND!!
More Inspiring, most inspiring? You can Decide:
I recently came across an amazing, awesome, and truly inspiring story that has recently been passed around. The story was of a young girl named Rachel who wanted nothing but to raise $300 for charity:water for her 9th birthday. She raised that money all right but the unexpected happened and she was killed in a pileup on I-90. Her final gift was that of organ donation. Her young kidney was given to a man who had been on the transplant list for 5 years. Though such a terrible event, she was able to give back in more ways than one after her very shortened life. And she keeps on proving that charity and giving back can really make the world a better place, because at this minute, people are still thinking about how amazing this young girl was, donating to her cause (charity:water) as well as well as the people who are eternally grateful that their friend and loved one is still alive after 5 years of waiting because of her incredible gift.
Today, after the tragic accident and all the headlines created by her birthday wish, death, and the donation of her kidney sparked compassion in many as they the total of her charity:water donation page rose to over 1 million dollars.
You can click here to see her charity:water homepage and see firsthand the amazing amount of money that is still pouring in for this amazing soul, helping people all over the world get clean water, because thats what she wanted. Last time I checked, it was well over $1,245,000… Incredible….
The original article I read can be found here: http://www.komonews.com/news/local/129842903.html
First off, people are amazing. No matter how many times you or I may think otherwise, there are A LOT of amazing people in the world, and a lot of them in your own backyard. You just can't ever, NEVER EVER, let the people who are rude, ruin the fact that amazing people are out there, everywhere, most just living humbly while being wonderfully awesome.
With that said, I need to fire off a massive (in terms of words) list of awesome people that I must thank particularly today, which I must start with my donor, the person whose life had to end too soon and had a very bittersweet ending, since theirs ended at the very beginning of mine. Their healthy lungs fueled my brand new life. There are no words to express that thankfulness to a person who basically passed away only to give you the chance to survive in the world with people, the ones you love, and the ones who love you back.
People, it may have really only been one's life that changed, but many people are the reason that my life is the way it is. The reason I have this gift and second chance.
Next I must talk about my donors family, the idea that they had all the power in the world and in all their heartbreak to say yes or no to organ donation, YES OR NO!! They had the power to pretty much decide if I lived or died because I didn't have much left. This makes them 1 in a million on the list of people that I am more than extremely grateful for, I very possibly may not have been alive without them and their selfless decision. It is very possible, almost completely, seriously, honestly, am 100% certainly, possible that if I were to encounter these people I would either pass out, or be completely SPEECHLESS. Or most likely both. It is just too much sometimes knowing they are out there, grieving the loss of their loved one, while I am living some of the best times of my entire life. Lastly I must thank my family, friends, and my larger than normal group of people who form the greatest support group I could have ever imagined to have in my life, without them, this second chance at life wouldn't be anywhere near the same.
I know now and forever that I am and will continue to be speechless. Speechless to be alive. Speechless at my quality of life. Speechless at medical techonology, doctors and surgeons. Speechless at peoples generosity and support. Speechless <3.
Switching gears for a moment. As I sit here on my computer. Having just done a short bike ride yesterday, awaiting the weekend which I have been preparing for since I decided to go on this grand adventure for my 1 year lungiversary. I began thinking about 1 year ago. I year ago yesterday I was sitting in my bed on my bi-pap wondering if I was even ever going to be re-listed. Listed so that I would have a chance at new lungs, or even the hope of getting new lungs in the future. 1 Year ago, I knew that my lung function was less than 17% as it had been dropping and had not been tested for over 3 months. One year ago I was strapped to oxygen at 5 liters just to get barely 90% Oxygen saturation out of my Cystic Fibrosis infected lungs, strapped to my bi-pap if I needed rest, strapped to my IV which held life sustaining antibiotics that were no longer working, sucking on nebulizers with antibiotics and other things to ease my tired lungs and hopefully help the multiple daily coughing fits, strapped in my vest attempting to shake out the nasty bacteria filled mucus that plagued my poor dying lungs, strapped to my feeding tube trying to keep my weight up so that I wouldn't wither away before I got the call if i was blessed or lucky enough to even be re-listed. I was in that life, the life I had been living since my parents found out their 8 month old daughter had one of the rarest childhood diseases know to America at the time, knowing that I would not live into my teens or even that, not knowing what to expect in anyway except that I was their first child, and this diagnosis was our reality.
Lung transplant was the only reality worth having hope in for end stage Cystic Fibrosis, because no one wants to talk about the real unavoidable truth that accompanies end stage CF.
Exactly 1 year ago today I was re-listed. Finally, after almost all hope had dwindled to nothing, after the unavoidable questions started rolling through my brain. Thats when my dad got that call, the one we had been waiting for, and when he told us what had just happened we were just carrying on as normal, just knowing we needed to chill, pack go-bags like the other times I'd been listed, knowing we had to have our phones with us at all times because at any minute we could get that phone call. All the other times it had been months on the list and nothing had happened, hope wasn't as it used to be when waiting to be listed, but we had a certain excitement that only could be explained by the relief we felt as if we knew I might not die waiting for new lungs after all.
I might make it. The hope gained from being listed is immediate.
The part that is insane is what happened next. Around 10:00PM on September 15th 2010, only hours after the call alerting us of my re-listing, my dad received another a phone call, from the University of Washington, saying that they had lungs, they had new lungs for ME. Yeah, it was a bit hard to process, when only moments before we had gotten the call of the re-listing, who would have thought? NOT US! We both hopped in the car in a heartbeat, knowing we would feel better if we were already down there, my mom staying to pack last minute items in case she ended up down there for three or four weeks at a time, and attempting to call our close friends and family as well as she could, while other friends carried out the phone tree we had prepared months before. We arrived late as my dad was driving slow, slow driving and an already 2 hour drive equaled A LONG TIME IN A CAR WHILE PRACTICALLY DYING INSIDE. We were both in extreme shock and barely exchanged a word the entire way, this can't really be happening… that is all I could think.
It just a dry run. Its a dry run, I know it. Everyone had a dry run and I hadn't had mine so this had to be it! There is no possible way I am getting lungs tonight, that is just insane.
Or so I thought… Upon arriving at the hospital, after 1:00 in the morning. I was placed in an ICU room, the ones post lung transplant patients were taken to after their surgery. I changed into hospital attire and they told me to get comfortable and sleep if I wanted to, which felt like the farthest thing from possible to try and achieve at that moment. Eventually I passed out around 3AM probably from stress or sleep deprivation, who knows. As I woke up only hours later, it all seemed so weird, friends started arriving and family stayed close, all not knowing if this was going to be their last goodbye or a shared group effort in good thoughts so I would know that all these people would be there when I came out of recovery, and they would all be exactly the same. Either or we sat around, now September 16th 2010, trying to ease the feeling of anxiousness mixed with worry and a tiny bit of heart failure shaken in. They kept pushing back the time they were supposed to come get me saying, 1:00pm is the time, then 2:30pm etc, which made us even more on the edge. As nervous as we were, as soon as we finally calmed down a bit and began to set up a game, they came.
HOLY SHIT! And we're rollin'
Rolling away was, well.. I have no idea, it was like a moment of blackout, because there were only 2 thoughts in my head at that point. Here I go, I am either going to wake up with new lungs, and a second chance that not very many people in the world have been given, or I am going to die on the operating table.. Right then at that exact moment, rolling away from my mom after close to 10 failed attempts at getting an IV in my wrist artery for arterial gasses and other things, also proven good for taking your mind off of what was actually happening, I came up with a conclusion to fix every feeling I had had since the time of the call. This was it, I had a good run, I did everything I could in every aspect of life and I was content, If I came out alive, it was a bonus, but I wasn't afraid to know I might not wake up. I was only afraid of the people I would be forced to leave behind, all of them, the ones I loved.
1 Year Ago TODAY I Woke up with new lungs.
And here I am. Who am I to thank? MY DONOR OF COURSE! As well as doctors, nurses, & family.
I won't even begin to bore you with the facts, in other words, what I've been able to do since the day I walked out of that hospital less than a year ago, but, breathing 100% of the oxygen that I was meant to breath just had to take a detour. Lets just say RoadTrips, VisitingFriends, Snowboard, TrainMyDog, Hiking, Biking, Driving, SpendingTimeWithFamily, TravelbyPlane, Running, & among other MiscellaneousAdeventures I LIVED IT UP!
HERES TO YEAR NUMBER 2!
You're the best cousin ever so have the best 16th birthday ever!! I'm glad you are my cousin. Love ya lots!!
Just because your are 16 AND blonde: A car was driving down the street when all of a sudden it started swerving. The car was going back and forth till someone called the police. A police officer pulled the car over. A blonde rolls down the window and says, " Officer, I'm so glad you are here. I saw a tree in the road, then I saw another. So I had to swerve to keep from hitting it!" The officer looks at her, and says, "Lady, that's your air freshener."
A blonde was driving down the highway to Disneyland when she saw a sign that said "DISNEYLAND LEFT" After thinking for a minute, she said to herself "oh well!" and turned around an drove home.
Andddd last but not least (please dont kill me)