A Heart With A Cause

My sister-in-law Kimi is here today to share a message about organ donation.  She’s my husband’s only sister, one of his very best friends, and now, one of mine.   When Brett and I got married I knew Kimi and I would be close,  but I had no idea I would be gaining the sister I had always wanted.  {Kimi and I are both the only girls in our families.  We grew up with boys. We get each other.}  And now, I can say I know what it feels like to have that “sisterly bond” that I had always heard sisters talk about.  She’s more than a sister and a friend, she’s an incredible daughter, the favorite Aunt; she’s hilarious, real, always giving, and has one of the biggest, most loving hearts.  
But her heart is failing and she needs a new one.  She’s on the list for a heart transplant and we are all waiting, hoping, and praying she gets a new heart. 
With Valentine’s Day tomorrow,  a day we celebrate love, a day symbolized by X’s and O’s and lots of hearts, her message seemed appropriate today. A message we, her family and friends want people to hear.  Not just for Kimi, but for the thousands of lives organ donation can save.

So here she is….


Hi all!! I’m Kimi, and I’m honored that Kristy has offered a place for me to share a little about my experience and a few of the things I have learned. 
I first started seeing a cardiologist at age 14. My symptoms were inconsistent and although I couldn’t exactly keep up with my peers, I never really sat on the sidelines. As I reached adulthood, I would spend a day each August completing a treadmill test and EKG, then spend the next 364 days forgetting all about it. However, in 2011, my health began to quickly decline, and I spent most of a year searching for a correct diagnosis and treatment plan. I never would have guessed that I would find myself hoping to qualify for a heart transplant, but in June of 2012, it became an answered prayer.
Of all of the thoughts and feelings this experience has brought me, one of the most interesting has been that I think about my donor a lot. Not just every day, but multiple times a day. And I’m surprised, because I didn’t think I would feel this kind of a connection until after it happened. See…I’m still waiting for a donor…251 days to be exact.
I have been concerned about my donor since the very first day. In fact, during the winter holidays, I started hoping that it wouldn’t happen because I didn’t want things to to be dreary for the donor’s family during this, and future, Christmas seasons. I regularly think about what my donor might be doing right now, and I hope for the very best things. As I say ‘I love you’ to friends and family, I hope moments to say ‘I love you’ are embraced by my donor. When I share an entertaining conversation with a friend, I hope that my donor gets to laugh a lot. As I organize paperwork and account information, I hope that loose ends are tied up regarding important issues for my donor. As I feel peace and patience in the wait, I hope that my donor is also encompassed in peace.
I think about this so often because my donor is most likely young, and active, and believes that the next 60+ years are full of possibilities. My donor has close, significant relationships, and very likely has children. My donor is healthy. My donor may have never considered being a donor, and my donor’s family might have no instinct to make that decision in his or her behalf.
In light of that possibility, I thought it might benefit many people if I could address some of the urban legends that sometimes turn off potential donors…
Myth: If you are an organ donor, medical staff won’t try as hard to save your life.
Truth: Medical personnel’s first priority is to do everything they can to save you as the patient. They do not have access to your donor status details, and donation is not discussed until every life saving option is exhausted.
Myth: Age or medical history (such as diabetes, cancer, medications) prevent individuals from qualifying as an organ or tissue donor.
Truth: Anyone can be a organ or tissue donor. Eligibility is determined case by case, by the appropriate procurement organization. Even I am a donor…my heart is trash, but my kidneys and liver have proven themselves to be rock stars, and anyone would be lucky to have them!
Myth: There are plenty of existing donors for those who are awaiting organ transplant.
Truth: Only about 2% of deaths have the potential to become organ donors, but not all of that 2% are registered to do so. One donor can save up to nine lives through organ donation, and decrease the thousands of people who die every year on the waiting list.
Myth: If you check donor on your driver’s license, it will be obvious how things should be handled, if that time comes.
Truth: Hospital procedures regarding organ donation vary from state to state. In most cases, the medical staff will consult with the patient’s family about the wishes and intentions regarding donation. If you are currently registered as a potential donor, or are interested in doing so, please have this discussion with them. Imagine the comfort your family would have knowing that they are following your desires.
Myth: My religion does not approve of organ donation.
Truth: Nearly every religion in the U.S. officially supports organ and tissue donation and views donation as an act of compassion and generosity.
Myth: I wrote this in hopes of selfishly enlisting my own donor.
Truth: I hope that my words might impact one person to decide to be an organ and tissue donor. After eight months of waiting, I have come to terms with the idea that it might not happen for me, but maybe there will be some meaning in my experience that can positively impact the lives of others.
If you are an organ donor, chances are there will come a time when a potential beneficiary begins to think a lot about you. You will become the recipient of prayer, appreciation, and concern from an individual who is fighting for a chance at a better life. That recipient will spend a lot of time and effort to be worthy of your charity, and will spend a moment every day, for the rest of their ‘second chance’, expressing gratitude for the gift you have given.
More information is available here:
Register to be a donor now:
For Utah residents: http://www.yesutah.org/
Outside Utah: http://www.organdonor.gov/index.html

You can follow Kim’s journey on Facebook


  1. says

    i loved reading this post. i am a nurse at a pediatric hospital and i take care of children waiting for heart transplants often. i believe organ donation is such an important cause, thank you for being such a great advocate. prayers you get your heart soon :)

  2. Anonymous says

    Kimi…..Bless you. Ive known you since you a little girl and now I am so proud of you. You ae a wonderful example of courage and strength and I am so glad you shared your feelings. I pray you will be blessed with a new heart and that you can enjoy a long and wonderful life. Take good care. Loves to you.
    Theron John

  3. says

    This is a very touching post. Kimi, I commend you for courage, hope and faith. I am an organ donor and hope that people understand what an important decision this is. Thanks for sharing your story.

  4. says

    Our 7-year-old grandson died almost two years ago and his parents bravely donated all of his organs that were usable. It made us all feel so good, when the next week at church we heard of a child who had just received a new kidney and a woman who was no longer blind. So comforting to know that, when a tragedy occurs in one family, it can be a blessing to others. Our love and good wishes to you Kim.

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