Friday, March 15, 2013

Make your wish count {A chat about something that's difficult to talk about}

Being a blogger has enriched my life in so many ways
(did you know I'm speaking at a conference soon?? amazing)
I can write better now and take better pictures.
I've come to develop my own sense of style.
But one of the best things is being inspired everyday by incredible people.

People who do their thing in their own quiet way, 
but who make us think twice about the way we do things.
Like Kate who makes me think about where my food comes from,
and Anissa who makes me think about the clothes I buy
and Rita who makes me think about how I use contrast in quilts.

But today I want to tell you about a blogger who makes me have conversations
with my children and my friends about organ donation.
I'm talking about Cam from the famous blog, CurlyPops.
I had seen Cam around blogland,
 especially I think when she organised an amazing hottie exhibition.

But I think it was once I got onto Instagram that I really felt like I started to get to know her,
and then I was lucky enough to meet her in December.
(I put this picture in because she has the cutest dog, I digress)
When I met her I was impressed by her friendliness, her zest for life and her positivity.
I knew that she needed a lung transplant and I knew about the oxygen tank 
but I was still stunned by her breathing, it was harsh and I imagine difficult
and listening to her while we chatted (and ate cake and drank our coffee)
made me realise how much she must need those new lungs.

Cam's world is coloured with the brightest of colours,
and so when I came home I began to think more about organ donation
and sometimes I would have a chat to God while I was sewing
or cleaning my house and remind Him that Cam really need a new pair of lungs
and could He arrange it soon please.

And then about a month ago, I came home and found out that Cam had her lungs that day.
I was ecstatic and afraid and I prayed harder than I've prayed for a long time
that Cam would keep well and those shiny new lungs would work.

I checked facebook and instagram obsessively {refresh refresh refresh}
for days and started making a quilt because that's what I do!

Then I decided everybody needed a chance to be part of it
because I know we all felt a bit powerless really while dear Cam was fighting her battles
and getting the crinkles out of those shiny new lungs.

So now we have lots of petals with names on to show Cam how much we love her
and how much we are cheering for her.
I'm so grateful for the family that agreed that their precious loved one
could give this amazing gift to Cam. I pray for them too.
It's such a conflict isn't it, to want lungs for someone,
but it's the gift we don't really want to give,
in fact we probably don't want to talk about it, do we?

But I've talked to my family and my friends about Cam and her new lungs
and I've talked about choosing to be a donor
and while I really hope I never have to sign those papers for someone I love,
I truly believe that organ/tissue donation is the greatest thing you can do,
it's taking your devastatingly sad situation and
making someone's amazing miracle and new life.

What a gift.
What a decision.
Please talk to your family about it because they are the ones who have to agree.

I know this post might seem a bit morbid,
but seeing Cam doing new stuff,
getting stronger and stronger each week
has made me so grateful for the family who said yes.


  1. This is such an emotive subject, and one which I've thought about for a while myself...........sending lots of good wishes and positivity for Cam.

    The quilt is beautiful. x

  2. I think everyone should be a donor! Our body is only a shell and I love the idea of others living because I can donate. Something the other half and I have had several discussions as he completely opposes the idea....

  3. I think everyone should be a donor! Our body is only a shell and I love the idea of others living because I can donate. Something the other half and I have had several discussions as he completely opposes the idea....

  4. I'm so glad to hear that your friend has her new lungs, that something positive has come out of the loss of a life.
    Organ donating is such an important subject and I'm glad you've had the courage to talk about it on your blog.
    Have a fab weekend.
    Anne xx

  5. That's such a hard discussion to have but so important. It's so easy to cover it up with 'oh but it's not going to happen so we shouldn't think about it, because it's morbid.' My husband knows that if anything happens to me, I want to be an organ donor - for me it was worth the awkwardness of the conversation to get that message across!

  6. So very well said Deb. My nearest and dearest know that my innards (and outtards for that matter) are ripe for re-gifting if the situation arises.
    I love that Cam has thrifted lungs, just the way it should be :o)
    Abbe x

  7. What an amazing story Deb.
    They can take whatever they want from me..even my hands, I'd like to think they would make someone get creative xx

  8. Beautifully put Deb! (and Abbe, I love the idea of Cam's 'thrifted' lungs!) Always a good thing to discuss when we have clear heads rather than at the emotional time when an answer is needed.
    Organ donation has been very close to home this end, unfortunately all that could be regifted from my Rod were his corneas.
    We are all donors here and have our cards to show it if needed.

  9. Awesome Deb.
    It's not something we want to think about until we have to usually, aye?
    Thanks for the thought provoking and moving shove in the right direction

  10. The quilt is beautiful and it is a conversation that should be had. Glad she is doing well. You are a kind friend. Cx

  11. Your quilt is gorgeous and your soul is even more beautiful.
    My son has cystic fibrosis so one day we too will be facing that journey.
    I personally wish Cam every success and know she will be living each day with renewed vigour.
    I don't know why donation rates are so low except the system makes it confusing and difficult to have personal wishes carried through. It is difficult to contemplate end of life descions but we shouldn't let fear hold us back.

  12. I always have said I am very happy for my organs to help someone else - I registered in Australia and then in California. But at the moment, they don't want any of my bits - after cancer you can't donate for at least five years, maybe never. (I can't think of much worse - hey, here are your shiny new lungs, oops, now you have metastasized cancer!) If I'm dead, I won't be needing my bits. I'm a bit sad about it really.

  13. I was 19 when a classmate of mine crashed his car. He didn't survive - and neither did a little boy who was playing on the sidewalk at the time. Two more people were injured.

    It was a tragedy from whichever side you looked at it, but I felt a little better knowing that someone, somewhere, got a new young heart. Someone got a lung. Someone got a kidney. Someone got retinas. Six people altogether got a part of him.

    My family has known for a long time already that if I'm ever in a position where my organs aren't much use to me anymore, someone else should get that gift of life. It makes sense to me.

    Some children have parents because of gifts like that.

  14. My husband and I have made the decision to donate. It catches in my throat typing this but we would also donate our children's organs and the Lord chooses to take them early. The statistics on children donors I think are very low. I cried tears for Cam and especially the donors family. Tears of relief for Cam and tears of sadness for those that lost a dear loved one.

  15. I speak from the heart as I write this - my Dad is only here with us today because a wonderful family somewhere in NZ made the absolutely heart wrenching decision to donate their loved one's organs. My dad (and at least 3 others) got a second chance at life - a life he has taken with both hands and is living to the full. I also speak as a person who has a disease which will ultimately mean I too need an organ transplant. I hope when the times comes I get a second chance like he did. Please please have these hard conversations with your family - many other family's lives could be changed for the better if you do.

  16. I love this post. I advocate organ donation as well as getting on the bone marrow registry and donating blood. Just today my husband and I were discussing a man that received new arms and legs. What a gift! He now has the ability to put his arms around the people he loves.
    When I die I want any part of me to be used. They can take all of it. (Except my boobs. The elastic in them are shot and will need to be thrown out like an old favourite pair of stretched out underwear.)

  17. Not morbid at all Deb, a very beautiful and celebratory post for the new life Cam has.
    Well done for writing such a beautiful post.

  18. Its a beautiful post, and so well written, and perfectly captures everything I want to write myself, but I can't because my words clog up and I start to cry and dammit I can't write when I get overly emotional.

    The best thing about Cam getting her new lungs is that finally my husband realised how deadly serious I was about haunting him forever if he refused my request to donate my organs. Finally, he got it. I feel I can die in peace knowing that he gets it.

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  21. Oh Honey I am so glad your friend got her lungs and of course its not morbid to talk about these kinds of things, they are a part of life and its important that our family and friends know our wishes in case we are in a position that we can't say it ourselves. I have been listed as an organ donor since I was legally allowed to but my parents knew before that that it is what I would want. I'm not sure that they would be able to use my organs now because of my health problems but I am looking at the other side now, as someone with crohns disease who has watched with interest the advancements in bowel transplants. This is such an important thing to do, as a final gift to humanity to be able to donate your organs and save a life. Amazing. But we musn't forget the things we can do now while alive and well. Bone Marrow donor registry, blood donation, there are so many worthy causes that can truly and deeply impact and improve a life.
    So all in all Good on You Deb and the best of luck and well wishes for your friend!

  22. I don't understand how people can't donate. I would donate and my family all know that. But I also know they are very happy to be donaters too - what if one day we or one of our beautiful children needed an organ - we could never receive something that we were not just as happy to give.

  23. What a beautiful post, organ donation is such a brave and generous thing to do and something we have discussed in our home. A friend of mine recently donated a kidney anonymously, what a gift.
    I've just found your blog and it's lovely, your quilts are absolutely gorgeous and have inspired me to continue with my first attempt. I've been reading blogs for years and have just started my own blog. I've been struggling to find other kiwi bloggers out there (I have lots of Aussie favourites) and I'm so pleased I stumbled across Around the Table which has led me here and lots of other places, yay!

  24. Oh gosh, I've read this post over and over again in the last little while, and you give me goosebumps every time Deb.
    I'm slowly ironing the crinkles out of my shiny new lungs. The things that I can do already just amaze me. I'm thankful each and every day that in a time of sorrow, another family has given me a second chance at life.
    Cam x

    PS - the quilt is so so so beautiful!

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  26. Wow Deb, what a beautiful quilt - it really sums up your emotions and heart! I am so glad you bravely chose to bring up this subject - it is so important - my brother died when he was 7yrs in an accident and someone was able to live with new kidneys - it always gives me happiness to think someone is out there living life, from what was such a tradegy. Thank you for sharing from your heart :)


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