I read an article this morning in The Guardian written by my friend Sharon Brennan. Sharon has cystic fibrosis and is currently on the waiting list for a double lung transplant. It’s one of those things that you read and it jolts you out of your normal day, especially when it’s written by someone you care about. I was doing some work this morning but it feels hard to work after reading it. In the article, titled Living with Cystic Fibrosis, Sharon talks about what it’s like wait for a transplant.
It’s a pretty terrifying thing. Most of us forget about death in our day-to-day lives, but it’s something that Sharon has to deal with head-on, which she does with grace and spirit. Despite her illness, she has traveled the world, held down jobs in journalism, and got a postgraduate level education. Last year, when I found out that she was going on the transplant waiting list, it really struck home about what she has to deal with on a day-to-day basis, both physically and mentally. And it struck home how many other people there are in the world in similar positions, faced with death every day, and waiting for a phone call that could mean a whole new life.
Sharon is someone who I admire immensely, and I’m sure I can say that the rest of her family and friends feel the same way. The world needs people like her, who are strong and empathetic and vivacious and generally wonderful. We need to keep hold of them. The organ donor register should be opt-out, not opt-in, but it’s not. That’s why you should read Sharon’s article and then join the organ donor register (link for US organ donor register). You may not want to think about your death, but it’s going to happen. The organ donor register is a chance for you to do something incredibly special at the end of your life; you can give life to someone else.