Donald A. • Bronx, NY

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I am thankful to blood donors because...

Growing up in New York there was one thing I was always aware of the need for blood donors. However I was never inclined to donate blood or even be an organ donor I had this selfish attitude I would take it all to the grave with me. It's amazing if you live long enough and see enough tragedies or have traumatic experience take place in your own life how your views can change. I was 51 years old when I was told I only had 6 months to live or less my life was going to come to an end and there was absolutely nothing I could do to change it. You see all I needed was a new heart you know that muscle that pumps our blood throughout our body. I soon began to think and hope for the unthinkable I needed someone to die so that I could live here I was a father raising his three children. What would happen to my kids should I die? Where would they go? Who would take care of them? Then it happened on August 2 1996 I received a phone call from my transplant coordinator that a new heart was awaiting me. And then it hit me someone had died and I wished it had never happened for a life was lost and a family was going to give me a second chance I was getting a 25 year old heart that was now going to pump my blood.

There was one thing I never gave any thought too until after my surgery and that was the blood I received during and after my surgery. In 1998 I meet my donor's mother (photo) & family to thank them for the precious gift they gave me their loved one's heart. My only regret is I never had the same opportunity to thank my blood donor for his or her gift. Since my transplant I have devoted my life to educating the public about the dire need for organ and blood donors. I am now on a journey to complete a marathon in all fifty states to promote organ and blood donations. To date I have completed 30 states (photo Arizona) and a total of 41 marathons. Thirteen years later I owe my life to those that gave unselfishly.

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