On December 13, we celebrated my dad's 9 year "Transplantaversary". It is just what it looks like! We celebrated every year on the day he got his transplant. For those of you new to our blog and story, my dad had a heart transplant on December 13, 2001. He was born with a heart defect that is easily fixed in babies today, but 60 years ago...not so much. When he was transplanted, he was the oldest living person with that heart defect. Throughout his life he had several surgeries to correct issues connected with his heart. But 9 years ago, he was given the gift of live by someone we do not know, whose family we have never met. Of course the reality is that for anyone to receive an organ transplant, someone has to give up an organ. So we celebrated every year (and still celebrate) in honor of his donor and his family. All we know about Daddy's donor is that he was a 30 something male. And we know that while we had much to be thankful for that Christmas 9 years ago, another family was experiencing something quite different. I write a letter to the donor's family every year telling them what an amazing gift they gave our family. The man who could not dance the entire "Father/Daughter" dance at our wedding was running around after two toddlers a few years later. Even now that my dad is gone, we still celebrate. We had 7 amazing years with my dad we would not have had if it weren't for that one unselfish gift. As of 2006, the family had never read our letters. It does not matter. What matters is that we are forever grateful to a man we will never know and to his family we will never meet for giving us the gift of life.
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