This morning I got this email from my brother, Eric. He wrote:
In mid-July, 2017 my wife, CHRISTINE GRAF, will be donating a kidney as part of the non-direct living donor organ program. Her operation will mark the end of her year long journey. Her non-direct donation also set in action a chain of events through the “paired donor” program and as a result of her donation as many as ten people will now receive the life saving gift they have been waiting for.
Although the journey has been a private one, her friends and I feel that the Recovery does not have to be.
Chris had also written her story:
Having worked as a firefighter in suburban Chicago, and married to a police officer, I have always been acutely aware that life is incredible fragile.
On November 25th, 2015 I found myself kneeling on the cold factory floor, providing chest compressions to my friend and co-worker Aaron Hilton in a desperate attempt to save his life. Aaron was a mountain of a man, with health problems often associated with men his size. At age 29, his only hope for survival, after suffering a massive heart attack at work, would be the years of training that I had received as an EMT with the fire department. But, like so many attempts at CPR, all the training in the world, the quick emergency response even the close proximity to a hospital couldn’t save Aaron’s life that day.
I know Aaron had much life left in him.
I know Aaron had much more to give to this world.
I know Aaron had much more to share.
I wish he would have had more TIME.
I know that I have spent my entire adult life trying to assist other people in their most desperate time of need. The journeys that I have taken have always include my family because I needed my children to understand how blessed they have been. My husband and I have been in a unique position as a Police Officer and Fire Fighter to be able to reach out to so many people.
My decision to become an altruistic Kidney donor was only unique in that I choose to make it a private journey. I don’t know if I could have ever imagined the emotion or time that would have to be invested into such a decision. My family, which had often been my rock in so many of my other life’s journeys, was lost in trying to understand my motivation or drive to complete this yearlong quest to donate my Kidney. Holding on tight to the memory of my parents and Aaron, my continued wish to give someone the gift of TIME came true when the date was set for the kidney donor operation.
I can’t tell you how excited I am about making the wish of TIME come true. It matters none to me that I don’t know who the recipient of my kidney is. It matters only that I have given them more TIME.
I know this journey is not over. I’m scared to be away from home, I’m anxious about the surgery, I know the recovery process will be slow. I also know that life is short, every minute counts…and I remain acutely aware that life is incredible fragile.
These wonderful people who have donated their time and money to helping people in their community in Schererville, Indiana. They are not asking for money for themselves. Rather, all the money raised will go to promote kidney donation awareness.
- Emily & Jeff Holzhauser
- Agnieszka Makowska
- Lake County Pipes and Drums
- Tricia Kelm Allen
Organizer and beneficiary
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