Quote of the Week – Week 13

The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.

Christian in Moulin Rouge

**Hi, I came down sick (again) so didn’t have time to do my usual picture of the quote – sorry!!**

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about Eva, her friends and family. It’s difficult to believe that it was as much as 3 whole years ago that I clicked onto my blog reader to discover a message on her LiveJournal page left by someone else saying that she had died that morning. I remember going to church the next day and bawling my eyes out. Someone said to me that she had lived much more than most people did in a lifetime. She was sick, she was in pain. But I remember all too vividly her posts in those last couple of months, how she asked for her family to make sure people fought for her life. She so desperately wanted to live, though she had accepted death too.

When news filtered out that Eva had chronic rejection people began to send her mail again from all over the globe. What was created was her ‘Wall of Love‘. One of the things sent was the quote from Moulin Rouge that she and her Dad quoted often in those final 7 weeks she spent in hospital.

The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.

Like three years ago, March 27th falls in Holy Week. I remember walking through The Meadows on a rainy day a few days later, reflecting on Eva, her death, her campaign for CF research and organ donation, my desire to be an organ donor and Jesus’ sacrifice when he was crucified. I remember thinking how Jesus died so others could have life. I remember thinking how that’s a little like organ donation…when you are an organ donor, you give an opportunity for someone else to have a second chance in your death.

Now I think back on those words from Moulin Rouge. I think back to all the people that spoke at Eva’s memorial and how she lived a life of love. She loved well and loved hard. And she was loved in return.

Love is a huge theme throughout the bible – particularly in the New Testament. It is taught that the greatest thing in life is to love God, and love the people in this world. 2 simple rules, but tough to always apply.

I’m sure as the year goes on I’m going to write more about love. My real hope is to live those words out though.

**Note: I’m sad to say that this week (the day before the anniversary of Eva’s death), her friend Meg Moore died from Cystic Fibrosis related illness. Meg also starred in the award winning documentary 65_RedRoses with Eva and their friend Kina. There was a beautiful letter written by Director, Nimisha Mukerji to Eva on Wednesday which you can see here paying tribute to Eva and Meg.**

Pray for Tricia

Hi Everyone,

Friends of Tricia & Nathan made this image collage to spread the word through social media for people to pray for Tricia.

I’ve been following what’s happening through Nathan’s twitter feed, and this is what the report yesterday was.

The feeding tubes seem to be doing their thing, because she is gaining weight but the lung infection is still there and it’s reducing her lung function more and more every day.

So. Do feel free to keep up with Nathan & Tricia – tweet them some encouragement (@pattysue & @NathanLawrenson). And you can find out more about their incredible story and keep up to date at Nathan’s blog.

You can also download the image and share it on your blog/twitter/facebook so we can get lots more prayers for Tricia.

**Tricia’s sister Megan is running the OBX Marathon next month to raise funds for Tricia’s trust fund to help with the medical related expenses of being in hospital and having to live in Durham while being on the transplant list again. If you’d like to sponsor Megan there are more details here.**

Pray for Sheree

**update 18:00 24th June: I just found out that Sheree didn’t pull through. :( It’s a terrible loss. Please pray for Sheree’s family & friends. Thanks everyone x**

A while ago I reconnected on facebook with a friend I went to high school with. During our facebook catching up, I discovered that she too was raising awareness of the need for organ donors, largely being inspired by a friend of hers who was on the wait list for a heart transplant.

Sheree finally got her call in the early hours of Friday morning.

On Friday, while someone’s family and friends were grieving the loss of a loved one, Sheree was getting the gift of a second chance at life with a new heart because of that person’s gift in death.

At the moment, Sheree is fighting for her life. The new heart isn’t yet working in her body and they have not been able to take her off a heart bypass machine. My friend is now asking for people to pray for Sheree, and you’ll see on Twitter and Facebook that we have added ‘Pray for Sheree’ badges to our profile pictures.

Last Autumn, Sheree organised a fundraiser in Edinburgh for the British Heart Foundation and encouraged people to sign up to the organ donor register. An article about it was published in The Scotsman.

I’d love if you could pray for Sheree as well as her family, friends and medical team.

And if you haven’t already…consider signing up to the organ donor register in your country/state.

You can also add a ‘pray for sheree’ badge to your facebook and twitter profile pic by clicking here.

Thanks everyone x

Praying for Tricia

Many of my long-time readers are familiar with the amazing story of the Lawrensons – Tricia has Cystic Fibrosis and in 2007 found out she was pregnant the day before she was about to be put on the transplant list. She gave birth to a baby girl (Gwyneth, now 4!) in January 2008 at 24 weeks gestation, and miraculously both of them survived their ordeal. She went on to get a transplant 3 months later, and even fought a battle with PTLD (post-transplant lymphoma).

Earlier this year Tricia became ill with some infections including RSV and pneumonia, which caused some rejection. The last report I’d heard was in April that the rejection had stopped.

Yesterday Tricia was rushed back to hospital with acute rejection. It means her body is attacking at her transplanted lungs.

If you could pray for her, her family and her medical team at Duke University Medical Center that would be fabulous. I know that she and her family always value the prayers and positive thoughts of others.

65_RedRoses Premiere in the USA

This is one for any of my readers in the US of A. Most of my regular readers have heard me talk about Eva Markvoort, a girl who was born the same week as me, but in Canada with a genetic disease – Cystic Fibrosis. While on the wait for a double lung transplant, a friend asked if she  would be willing to be the subject of a documentary about living with CF and being on the wait list for an organ transplant.

65_RedRoses came out in 2009 and has since won numerous awards at film festivals across North America. The documentary originally ended with Eva walking down  a street healthier than she’d really ever been with a future ahead of her. Of course, we know now that 2 years later she was diagnosed with chronic rejection and while on the wait for a second transplant she died a few days before her 26th birthday.

The documentary has since been updated to reflect that, and will premiere on the Oprah Winfrey Network as part of the OWN Documentary Club tonight (Thursday) in the USA at 9/8c.

If you are able to watch, please do so. Hopefully when you watch you’ll understand why I’m so passionate about raising awareness of Organ Donation and the need for people to sign up on organ donor registers and talk about their wishes with their families.

Scotland kicks organ donor butt!

I saw a WONDERFUL piece of news yesterday that had been posted by Abby & Hope’s ‘Sign Up, Speak Up, Save Lives‘ campaign facebook page.

Scotland has now broken a record for the organ donor register, with 40% of our population having signed up to become organ donors.

Of course, there is still work to be done raising awareness of the need to register, dispelling the myths about organ donation and transplant and the need to speak to your families NOW about your wishes. Sadly there are a lot of people whose dying wish to having their organs donated is denied because their families refuse doctors to harvest their organs for transplant.

The last statistics I found was that in the UK, only 29% of our population are on the register despite the fact that 90% of our population say that they support organ donation. There is a massive gap there that needs to be narrowed between theory and action.

I don’t know if this is definitely true, but I also read that only 26 states in the USA offer the organ donation option when they are applying for their driving licenses. 8O

I know that a lot of my readers are now registered to be organ donors – and guys – THANK YOU! You totally rock for being willing to give life in your death.

 

 

Rebirth

Yesterday, me, Elastatoddler and Mr Teapot were sitting around the kitchen table while they ate apple I had chopped up for them to eat. We were talking about birthdays (since it was mine on Thursday, will be Elastatoddler’s on Tuesday and their Mummy’s (my friend Carrie) next weekend. I asked my godson

“Do you know what tomorrow is?”

“We get to eat chocolate tomorrow!!!”

“Why do we get to eat chocolate?”

“Because Jesus died on the cross and then HE CAME ALIVE AGAIN!” *please picture some bouncing here*

Essentially that is what Easter Sunday is all about. Not Jesus death, but Jesus coming back to life. And everyone having a second chance as a result.

The eggs I guess are a symbol of new life and rolling them a mixture of making eggs crack (as they would when what’s inside is ready to be ‘born’) but also the stone being rolled away from the tomb where Jesus lay.

This Easter Sunday is extra special to me. 8th April 2007 was also Easter Sunday. It was the day that I moved back to Edinburgh. God had told me to move back to Edinburgh at Christmas, and I had ignored him. He gave me a second chance to go. Not only that, but I also got the greatest gift – the chance to go to Australia. It was a time of healing and rebirth for me.

The other thing I mention on Easter Sunday is organ donation. I was saddened this week to receive a magazine from a Christian organisation. I’ve never actually supported this particular organisation but because I have some connections with them, I’m somehow on their mailing list. I was saddened to see an article about how they were opposing proposals to introduce an opt-out scheme for organ donation in the UK. For me, organ donation is a no-brainer. I’ve seen people die waiting for organs. I believe Jesus died for me so I could have a second chance at life. It makes perfect sense then that if I die, it should mean (if it is possible) that someone else have a second chance at life. I think it is scary that my wishes could be trumped by my next of kin who maybe are scared of losing me and selfishly say ‘No’ to letting medical staff harvest my organs in that moment.

So today – by all means enjoy hunting for Easter eggs, rolling them and eating them. But please remember what this day is really all about.

Rebirth.

And maybe, if you haven’t already, you might want to consider joining your country’s organ donor register in remembrance of that.

:)

An extra day

I’m kinda drained after the last few days, and really I don’t have energy to write anything of depth, humour or significance. I just wanted to ensure I had a post on Feb 29th, because who knows, blogging may be non existence by the time Feb 29th rolls around again.

I could talk about why I’m not promoting buying a song to ‘stop human trafficking’. I could talk about grief since I’ve been looking at it a lot recently. I can talk about the thankfulness and release I’m experiencing reading a book by Donald Miller on fatherlessness. I could talk about my excitement that a girl in England has created a Girlguiding badge to raise awareness of organ donation and heart disease. I could talk about how annoyed I got watching a reckless driver on the M8 coming home today. I could talk about the struggles I have with my broken family and what it’s like to feel like you are parenting a parent.

But really, I’m going to be thankful that I got an unexpected evening home without the sounds of banging and drilling. To do my laundry (since I’ve worn the same top two days in a row now and it smells like chicken burritos) and just to chill.

Tonight the phone will be going on silent, and no alarms will be set.

This koala needs to sleep.

:)

Causes I support: Live Life Then Give Life

Today is Easter Sunday. The weekend Christians celebrate how Jesus died so that all that believed He was the son of God may have a second chance at life. So it was a very simple choice to make my final ‘Lent Sunday’ cause a charity very close to my heart who encourage people to be organ donors – so that in our death, we might give someone (or many people) a second chance at life.

lltgl

The mission statement of Live Life then Give Life is

“To save and improve the lives of all those in need or receipt of organ and tissue transplants. The charity exists to improve education and awareness of organ donation and to fund projects that increase the numbers of successful transplants in the UK.”

LLTGF Website

Last year, after hearing of Eva’s death and on the lead up to Easter weekend I wrote this post in regards to my thoughts on organ donation.

More than 10,000 people in the UK alone are currently waiting for an organ transplant. It’s funny – we always think ‘it’ll never happen to us’ but if you read some of the stories on the LLTGL website, you’ll find that’s not the case. You just don’t know when yourself or maybe a close friend or relative may end up on that list. In fact the way things are at the moment, you are more likely to need a transplant than to become an organ donor.

So if you haven’t already, I’d really encourage you to get educated, and if you feel it is something you want to do…join the organ donor register in your country. And make your wishes known to your family.

Links connected to this charity:

Live Life then Give Life Website

NHS Organ Donor Register (UK only)

Donate to Live Life then Give Life via JustGiving

Why are we so afraid of death?

If there’s something I don’t have much patience for it’s ‘taboo’ subjects. Over the weekend I had two pretty frank conversations about sex. One of the things that bugs me is the way it’s talked about (or sometimes isn’t talked about) within the church and its people.

To me, sex is an incredible gift from God.

Not only does it give us the ability to create a human life, it is something that can be so enjoyed.

Of course, with as is the case with most ‘wow’ gifts, they can be abused and trashed. It becomes this mysterious thing, something we get embarrassed about. Something we’re afraid to ask questions about. Something we are in fear of. Something we can feel pressure about.

But you can have a conversation and blow the whole thing in the open, which can be awkward to begin with, but such a relief once you are in the flow of it.

I feel similarly about the topic of death.

I’m not afraid of death. Being a Christian, I really do believe in heaven and the new earth and eternal life. I would be lying if I didn’t admit to being anxious about the actual process of dying – in that having some kind of terminal illness, being in pain and all that kind of thing.

But I think I shocked people recently when I said that I have prayed that I would die in a way that means I can be an organ donor. I think people thought that I was being very morbid, or almost wishing my life away. I can understand that in our culture.

We don’t like to talk or think about death, and as a society we avoid it as much as possible.

In my mind – the simple fact is that we’re all going to die. And we have no control over how or when that happens really. It was unbelievably sad this time last year, knowing that the likelihood was that Eva was dying and new lungs were not going to come in time. But I so admired the openness and honesty Eva & her family dealt with it all.

It wasn’t the end. It was sad. But there was still so much to celebrate.

Why? Because Eva had left a legacy behind. Her life had made a difference.

I have no idea if I’ll live to a ripe old age of 85 like my Nana, or if I’ll get hit my a bus tomorrow as I’m crossing the road while blowing my nose for the zillionth time. And I have no idea if I’ve really made a difference in this world.

I just know that the quality of my life is so much more important than the quantity of it, and that even if I haven’t made a difference in my earthly lifetime, I’ll still make a difference to one or many people in my death.

Is that such a bad thing?

I want to people to know that. Because when I die, I can’t speak up anymore to say ‘Hi there, doctors & nurses! Can you please cut me open, take out my organs and see if they’ll be any use to any of the 1000s of people waiting on the transplant list so they can have life in all its fullness please?’

Someone else is going to have to speak up for me.

And I give you full permission to rugby tackle my next of kin to the ground if they don’t give permission for my organs to be donated, ok?!

;)