Saturday, 1 September 2012

The heroism of a 16 year old

In the summer, most teens have not a care in the world. They are concentrating on their summer jobs and adding up their pay cheques, thinking of all the new clothes and gadgets they can buy. They are soaking up the sun. They are hanging with friends at the beach. They are dreading the return of homework.

The last thing they are thinking about is organ donation.

But in August, in Nova Scotia, a 16 year old girl signed her donor form.

Three weeks later she was in a fatal car crash.

Her parents were with her when she signed that form (as they explained what it meant to be a donor) and were aware of her wishes. This beautiful (inside and out) and compassionate teenager donated her heart, lungs, liver, pancreas and kidneys.

Click here for the story.

What is truly incredible is that despite the heart-wrenching grief that the parents were in, they were able to think of others and fulfill her wishes of donation. Not only that, but at her wake, the family handed out green organ donation ribbons and had an organ donor display table set up.

To the Whelan family - my heart thanks you.

People's lives were undoubtedly saved. Your daughter will live on through them. 

As 1 of the 4000+ Canadians waiting for life-saving organs, I have a deep and everlasting appreciation for your altruism.

Your daughter is a hero.


  1. never mind a cape, super heroes wear green ribbons - they truly save lives!

  2. Thanks for posting this, Jess... Jillian is a hero -- as are her parents...

    I think about this often -- several times weekly, if not every day. I never had a child... I never intended to have one -- with my cystic fibrosis, though thought/fear of leaving them while they were still very young was always greater than the desire to have a little one. But I've thought long and hard about my mom & dad & family losing me and, like you, I've lost many precious friends and watched their families struggle.

    Now, after receiving this incredible gift -- then learning about the girl and family who gave it to me -- their actions were not unlike Jillian's and her family's. In the month before she died -- Kari brought up organ donation twice, and was adamant about her feelings -- yet, at that moment when their world was crashing down on them, like Jillian's parents, Kari's parents stepped back and thought of others... And thought of their daughters wishes... I could never blame them if they could not have done that at that moment. I would hope that I would have the strength to make a decision like that, at a moment like that... A chick from New Jersey touched on that when she wrote the most beautiful thing I'd ever read about Kari and everything that surrounded her gift:

    People are amazing, Jess. We hear about so much bad in the world, and about so many difficult times -- but I truly believe that, in the grand scheme of things, people want to do good, they want to help one another, they want to stop someone struggles and lessen someone's pain -- I think it's human nature. Someone and some family will be amazing for you someday -- and you will carry their legacy.

    You hang in there... Watch out for that humidity!!! That was always a killer for me too... I've hated heat and humidity all of my life -- I've LOVED cold, thick air, even when it was bitter cold -- I just couldn't bear humidity and heat... Now I love the heat and humidity!!! No, I don't feel comfortable, and I still like the cool -- but to be out in heavy humidity and heat, and breathing like it doesn't bother me at all, is just freaking amazing. Wait until you feel that!

    Love, Steve