When my husband Michael was diagnosed with lung cancer (he was a non smoker) we were devastated to find out it had spread to his bones. Here was a very fit man who had never been sick in his life.
He enjoyed telling jokes, was always busy, loved collecting motor bikes and was into formula one car racing. He grew native flowers for export, ran a successful consultancy business and was always helping other people - in addition to renovating a 100 year old house. Most of all he was a loving father.
The prognosis was not good for the type of cancer he had and we were told that most people that had this cancer are dead in four months. The best we could hope for was a year. We fought the cancer for three years and four months until he passed away last year. A week after he turned 69.
I was told we couldn't donate his organs, as the risk to someone else getting cancer was too great. Initially we had not considered the possibility of tissue donation, however I was talking it through with one of the nursing sisters and she said we may be able to donate his eyes. This was a great relief as I was desperately seeking to turn this dreadful negative into a positive.
Arrangements were made soon after he passed away and as a result he was able to donate his eye tissue.
We later received a letter telling us that Mike's generous and special gift had been used to help two people with corneal difficulties. That helped us so much in our recovery process, as we know a small part of him is still out there viewing life through different eyes.
Pay it forward please and consider becoming an organ and tissue donor. If just one person helps another in considering donation, the ripple effect can be enormous.
This is such an important discussion to have and an even greater decision to make.