Saturday, August 27, 2011

What a Week

Wow what a week. Last weekend I was having doubts, wondering what direction I can take next with this "kidney thing" and if I even had any business continuing on with trying to raise awareness. I was pondering whether or not I should do the 100km Kidney March (where I would need to raise $2200) versus just being ground crew for it ($300 in fundraising). While it wasn't quite a pity party, I certainly was feeling a bit unfocused and unsure of myself.

On Sunday I received a very awesome email which I shared in this post. It really reminded me that I need to keep doing what I can to raise awareness and help people understand the process of kidney donation. It made me realize how much of an impact I've already had while at the same time acknowledging the hows and whys of the doubts I was feeling. My birth mom Judy commented that the letter was a "gift". It really was. It gave me some focus back and helped me move past some of my doubts. But even more importantly it prepared me without my even knowing it, for what was to come on Monday.

Monday started off in a pretty regular way all be it with a bit of a sad twist. Charlie's mom's dog Roxanne died suddenly in the night and his mom was devastated. I was seating at my desk, feeling so badly for her and her husband and wishing I could go home and give my own to dogs an extra hug when my phone buzzed. A Twitter message. David Boushy from Global wanted me to call him. Holy crap-I still get butterflies just thinking about it. In under two hours I was strolling awkwardly down the river pathways for filler footage and talking about non directed organ donation. I (think) I spoke with confidence and conviction. I WAS focused. I found myself several times during my interview thinking about Sunday's email and drawing from it.

The video aired on the early news (5pm) the regular news (6pm), the late news (11pm) and in the morning as well. It was also posted to the Global website. While I knew my mother would be watching all the way from Ontario, I was amaze how many people tuned in, either accidentally or on purpose or watched the video online. And then they talked about it. People came up to me at work to tell me they saw it. Strangers emailed me or contacted me on Twitter. People re-tweeted and shared the video link to over 20,000 people in Canada and the US. Some viewers were thrilled at the exposure because someone in their life was waiting for an organ. One person asked if myself and the other donor in the video were single. Other were enlightened-they hadn't known that you could donate a kidney to a stranger. I even had one or two people tell me that they were considering donating as a result. Wow.

I also made the official decision to be a marcher in the Kidney March. I had told myself if I made it to the halfway mark of fundraising that I would dust off the running shoes (okay they aren't dusty-I've been running a lot) and walk the 100km. And today, after just two weeks of fundraising, I am thrilled to announce I am at $1590. The support I have had from friends, family, coworkers, and complete strangers is awe inspiring. I am hopeful I will be able to raise the remaining $610 in the next two weeks.

On another exciting note, this week one of my Canadian "kidney" friends has finally completed a successful cross match! She too is a non directed donor (on her way to donating) and we've been swapping stories and experiences. I am excited for her as she's been going through the process from around the same time I started. Knowing that she is now getting ready to donate has also reminded me of some of the other ideas I have up my sleeve that I can't wait to get started on...stay tuned.

This week really has impacted me like no other in my life-what a difference a few events and a little time has made.

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