In November 2009 at 11 minutes before 11 p.m. on the day before the 11th, we received the call that a liver and kidney had become available for my life-saving transplant. My family suffers from the genetic disorders of Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) and Liver Disease (PLD). My organs were massively enlarged and shutting down. The liver they removed weighed 30 pounds; the kidney weighed nine pounds.
But did these circumstances come about solely because of fickle fate or was it a small piece of God’s plan? It was the incredible generosity of an anonymous organ donor that saved my life. And where was God’s hand in this? God guided the heart of my donor and gave me and my family the strength and will to persevere through:
Faith. Without pure, unadulterated faith it could have turned out quite differently. With a chronic disease and a slow descent you get a lot of time for both reflection and prayer.
Very early on I stopped praying for improved health and the delivery of a miracle and instead came to pray that “God’s will be done.” Oh, I desperately wanted to live, don’t get me wrong, but I concluded that if you believe in a soul, in an afterlife, and have faith in a power greater than yourselves then you cannot fear death. I prepared myself truly believing the outcome would be what it was supposed to be and I made the necessary preparations for my wife, Anne, and the kids.
Hope. While faith comes from within, hope is where all your loved ones, your friends, the complete strangers who hear about your situation carry you further than you could ever go alone. Hope is contagious and, when driven by so many, powerful. There were many times in the hospital that we knew we were uplifted up by the hopes and prayers of so many, such as the time when they almost lost me in an internal bleeding episode.
Charity. I don’t know my donor’s name or family. We have written twice to them and not yet received a response and that is certainly their right. Frankly, I sometimes have a hard time feeling worthy enough and there is so much I need to do to live up to my donor’s charity. Maybe that’s why I’m so driven: a goal of enrolling 1,000 new donors and regular participation in sporting events identified as an organ recipient. I never actually win an event: I do it to honor the incredible charity of my donor.
And the greatest of these forces is Love, of course, and I have received much more than my share.
Beyond that? God’s will be done. There are currently over 123,000 people waiting for organs in the United States. Hear the call and become an organ and tissue donor today!
There are currently over 123,000 people waiting for organs in the US. Steve Baum is a liver and kidney recipient and long-time Franklin resident. He resides in Franklin with Anne, a teacher and his wife of over 40 years. Anne was his primary caregiver over the eight years of his chronic illness. He is an active volunteer in several health-related foundations. You can read more at:
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