Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jerry's Birthday

Tonight, we remember our donor Jerry on his twentieth birthday. A life that was short and ended tragically has profound effects that are far reaching. Two years ago today Jerry turned eighteen years old, just fifteen days after deciding to be a organ donor. Twenty four days later, he became Marty's donor, giving his kidney and pancreas as a gift of life after death.

We don't know really anything about Jerry except that he was very young with a whole life ahead of him. Days like today are a real eye opener when we think of him. Today is the first year that we know it is Jerry's birthday or even know his name.

We always knew it was a man, so many friends and family felt the same. We prayed for three years for this boy not knowing who he was or how his life would end? Days like today are hard, we remember that our day is good because of his gift.

Marty was off work, taking care of Conner who is under the weather, joking around with Elizabeth while I worked. Such a different picture of life, all because of Jerry.

Two years ago, we were sad, life was dim and dark. Marty was sick, a sick that I have never really shared the depths of publically. The dialysis was failing and fast, we truly weren't sure if he would ever feel better again.

One day before, we had been given a glimmer of hope and were believing that maybe, just maybe everything would be okay. The story can be read here , it was something so crazy that we only told a few people at the time. It was one story I shared with Jerry's mom over the phone that had us both floored. It happened the day before Jerry's birthday.

One month, almost to the day later we got "The" call  and our lives were forever intertwined. We learned a few months ago that one day before, Jerry's mother Debbie had made the heart wrenching choice to let him go. During this choice, she honored his wish and donated his organs.

Two of those organs came to our family and saved Marty's life. I always tell people, Jerry saved four lives that day. He gave two kids their father and a wife her husband. Not one day goes by that we aren't grateful for the precious gift.

Jerry is our hero. He lives on through his organs and the gift of life he gave our family. We share his name every chance we get so that people will know he lived and he was a hero. He profoundly changed our lives forever and we are forever grateful.

Marty two years later

Marty and Elizabeth being silly as always

Conner and his Dad


This post is late today so let's plan for tomorrow. I challenge the readers of Just Jules to commit a random act of kindness in honor of Jerry's twentieth birthday. Let's honor Jerry in the best way possible by being selfless and giving to others.

One way you could give is by donating money to Taylor's Gift in Jerry's name. They have a fundraising goal they would like to meet by this Christmas http://www.stayclassy.org/events/2012-holiday-appeal/e21630

The Storch family and their story was a huge comfort to Marty and I during our wait for a donor. Taylor was the same age as our son when she donated her organs.