Organ Donation is Super Heroic
To continue raising awareness about pediatric organ donation, today’s testimonial comes from 16-year old Brendan, who is a heart transplant recipient.
It’s not what I am inside but what I do that defines me.
Who is Batman? Batman is an intelligent, strong character who can think on his feet. He fights against evil and lives by a strict moral code. I believe in the strength and courage that superheroes embody. But what defines me? I am Brendan. I just turned 16 and celebrated the 10th anniversary of my heart transplant. I am so grateful to the family who gave me a chance to live. I have strawberry blonde hair, pale skin, and I walk into rooms with a smile on my face. I love to tell jokes and make people laugh. I do the best I can. I enjoy my friends, love playing sports, but sometimes I get headaches.
Photos l-r: hours post heart transplant, 2005; infant, 1999; today, 2015
Well, I get them sometimes because of all the immunosuppressant medicine I take since the heart transplant I had in 2005. Batman once said, “People are afraid of what they don’t understand.” Most people don’t understand me or the things that have defined me throughout my life. I was born with a congenital heart defect and had three open heart surgeries before I was three years old. Then, I underwent a heart transplant when I was just six years old after spending most of the year in a hospital or at home with tons of medicines. People say I am brave, and they could never do the things I have had to live through. But I am alive, right?
I have been thinking about going back to the hospital to help kids in pain. I want to help the kids who are waiting for hearts, lungs and kidneys. They may be afraid or in pain. I trusted in a quote from Wolverine to get me through some of the bad stuff a couple of years ago when I had another heart surgery: “Trust me, I’ve been through worse.”
Yet, kids need to have their own story to help them. I would share mine. I would tell them the worst is behind. Look forward and don’t look back. But if the pain and the fear are all around you and ahead of you, well... if the world is too big, then make it small. Pretend there’s an island out in the ocean. When you are there you can relax, decide what you want to eat or what video games you want to play when it is all over. Go there and be at peace. Go to a place you can call home.
“It’s not what I am inside but what I do that defines me.” I am filled with scars on the inside and outside, but it truly is how I live my life today and for others that define me now and who I will become.
For more information about organ donation, visit the American Transplant Foundation