An open letter to donor family

Dear Donor Family: As you approach your first Thanksgiving without your son, you should know that there is at least one family who will never be able to find the proper words to thank you for your life-saving donation. Last January, you and he gave my father, his family and many friends the most precious gift — the gift of life.

Please know that we never prayed for your son to pass and my father to live. Instead, we prayed that whomever God chose to call home had signed an organ donor card. So often the decision to be a donor is made with precious 16-year-old invincibility. The true test comes when a family like yours consciously makes the decision to save other lives when they sadly can’t save the one right before them.

You did not just give my dad a set of lungs. You gave his wife back her husband; his young grandchildren their precious Bumpie. You gave a long-time sufferer of pulmonary fibrosis the renewed pleasure of a deep breath of fresh air and the indulgence of a leisurely walk along the lake. Your family’s gift brought ours the gift of time — time to stop and smell the roses, time to say the little things we never had said, time to learn not to sweat the small stuff.

Most importantly, your gift gave your son a chance to live and breathe on in my father. Every breath he takes now is a testament to another life well lived. Most transplant patients have some degree of rejection. My dad has absolutely none. Your son and my dad are perfect partners in a harmony we all wish never had to happen.

Because of your gift, immeasurable amounts of friends and family have opted in or renewed their organ-donation decision. Your one undertaking — no doubt the hardest one you’ve ever made — has influenced several thousands of future donations. In fact, my 13-year old daughter asked to have her organs donated. I hope to God I never have to make that decision; rather her for me. But know that your selflessness has not only saved lives, it has changed minds.

On Thanksgiving, my family will gather to give thanks to you and your son. We have few words to convey both the depth of our sorrow for you and the appreciation for giving us back our son, husband, dad and grandfather. I know we will make a hearty toast to you and your son. And when the turkey wishbone is broken late that night, I am positive that the wish will be that everyone everywhere becomes an organ donor.

With deepest gratitude,

Lisa Bolton Singelyn

La Cañada Flintridge