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Organ Donations

07/07/03 Amber became an Organ Donor. 

As a family, we made a unanimous decision to donate Amber's organs once she was officially pronounced brain-dead. Since Amber had a rare blood type (AB+), we were told that the odds of finding a suitable recipient were somewhat reduced, but LifeLink was quick to swing into action by coordinating tests and searching the national registry.

07/25/03 Letter From LifeLink Regarding Organ Donations. 

"As were your wishes, Amber was an organ and tissue donor. We were able to recover the kidneys and heart for valves. Your daughter's right kidney was received by a 72-year-old male from New Jersey. This gentleman was suffering from hypertension, which resulted in kidney damage. He was listed in May 2001 for a transplant. He is married and works as a professor. We wish him well with his recovery.

The left kidney was transplanted into a 41-year-old female, also from New Jersey. The young lady is married and works as an office manager. She enjoys traveling and going to the movies. After speaking with her transplant coordinator, I understand that the kidney is functioning good and her recovery is going well.

Unfortunately, the liver and lungs could not be recovered because of the difficulties in matching the organ to a waiting recipient. However, this in no way diminishes the importance of your gift and the effort you and your family have made on Amber's behalf.

As you wished, Amber was also a tissue donor. We were able to recover the heart for valves. Although the heart itself was not able to be transplanted, the pulmonary and aortic valves from the heart were recovered. Upon completion of processing, Amber's heart valves will be available for transplantation into adults as well as children and can at times mean the difference between life and death. These valves can be used to correct complex congenital defects, for which mechanical valves cannot be used, as well as to repair areas of heart vessels, which are malformed.

01/12/04 Letter from the recipient of Amber's left kidney.

Jamie, Chip, and Jacob,

Thank you so much for your letter. It was very kind of you to share some of your memories of your daughter. Receiving the transplant was an incredible thing, but more incredible was the generosity and kindness to give it. You must be very special people to give such a wonderful gift at such a sad time.

I have been on dialysis for the last three years and, prior to that, have had kidney problems for the last 20 years. Because of the kidney you donated I no longer need dialysis and can enjoy life again. You have not only helped me but you have also helped my family, friends, and coworkers. Everyone is so happy for me.

My husband and I love to travel and being on dialysis made it very difficult. There are not words to describe how you have changed my life.

I am so sorry you lost your daughter, but I hope you can find some joy knowing that what you did is amazing. We are so grateful for your thoughtfulness and generosity.

Thank you

02/10/04 Letter from the recipient of Amber's right kidney.

My dear friends:

I want to express, with all my heart, my deepest sympathy and loving support on the passing of your child. I would like to think that these simple heartfelt words will bring healing, comfort and, above all, a sense of continuity and renewal to all who mourn her.

The kidney I received from your little daughter saved my life. I had been on dialysis for one year and my health was deteriorating. For the gift of life, through your child, I thank you with a heart so full of gratitude that I am having difficulty finding the right words. This was, really, the reason of this very belated letter.

I would like to tell you that I am a professor in the Department of Foreign Languages at one of New Jersey's State Universities where I have taught for some thirty five years, and found each day a blessing in and of itself. I am married, and my wife joins me in expressing, when there are really no words, how thankful she is we can continue our life together.

In my private life, anything written in a book speaks to me. Each time I pick up a book, I will remember your daughter. I also write poetry, and the ability to continue to spin dreams through words is one of her gifts to me - please always remember this.

One day, if ever you feel it is possible, my wife and I would like to meet you in person. I know this is your decision.

With kindest personal regards, I remain forever grateful.

07/03/04 Guestbook entry posted by Judy Rogero.

Little Amber Lynn Cash was my niece. Her daddy is my Nephew, his “Nana” is my sister. I was with them and Jamie at the hospital during the last moments while they tested Amber for any signs of "life" (brain wave activity).

I am an EMT. I have dealt with the Organ Donation process from every angle now. In my work on an ambulance I have transported Doctors and surgical teams to locations where they performed Organ Harvesting. I have transported organs, in Emergency mode, to awaiting jets bound for the recipient’s surgeries. But until July 7th, 2003 I hadn’t experienced the Organ Donor process from the Donor Family’s perspective.

Most people never think of what actually goes on in those horrible, gut wrenching moments leading up to actually signing the papers allowing someone else a chance at life; a chance when your own family has no more chances.

People don’t want to think about that. It is so very true that “Greater love hath no man, than he lay down his life for a friend”. Organ Donation is just that. Whether it be the love of their family member who is dying, or somehow sending “love” to a person “somewhere”, that you don’t even know, it is still the single most selfless thing that I have ever witnessed.

It just doesn’t occur to most of us that, in that most horrid of scenes, that a Mom, Dad, and FAMILY have to literally say good-bye to a child who, for the world, still LOOKS alive; who tear themselves away from a baby that they know they’ll see next in her casket. But that is the reality. And I was never more proud of our (Amber’s) family than in the moment that I witnessed that very thing.

I felt I needed to share my part of our experience here. We now know that Amber has saved two people with the gift of Organ Donation. What a wonderful thing to know – that someone is alive now because of her!

I, for one, also know of the great love that Chip, Jamie, Margie and little Jacob all had for Amber. She was always thought of FIRST in their family, even though Jacob was half her age. And Jacob still remembers and misses his "big" sister. He somehow just seemed to know and expect that Amber had those special needs, and never seemed jealous, as one might expect of one so young.

I was given this little poem by a friend, and immediately thought of “Baby Amber” as we all called her. We all await the time when we will see her again…

I’m Free

Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free.
I’m following the path God laid for me.
I took His hand when I heard Him call.
I turned my back and left it all.

I could not stay another day,
to laugh, to love, or even to play.
Things left undone must stay that way.
I found His place at the close of day.

If my parting has left a void,
then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss.
Ah yes, these things, I too, will miss.

Do not be burdened with times of sorrow.
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow!
My life’s been good, I savored much.
Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief;
don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me…
God wanted me now. He set me free!
(Author Unknown)


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