Ted's and David's Stories
"There were so many emotions to sort through: fear, apprehension, happiness and excitement. Then it hits you like a freight train: The organ you are about to receive means someone else no longer needs it, they are dying. It is the most humbling experience we have ever gone through."
-- Shelby, whose husband Ted received a lung transplant thanks to David Duranceau's decision to donate his organs
Written by Shelby, wife of Ted, who had a single lung transplant in 2003 and recently had his remaining native lung removed.
I woke up this morning marveling at the little things that are really big things at our house. I forgot to run the dishwasher last night so I could empty it before I left for work, but realized Ted can now empty it. I don't have to leave work to drive him for his echo today - he'll go himself and stop and pick up a prescription that is ready. He's taking his truck to get the oil changed.
He's going to "brothers' breakfast," too. They're not his biological brothers, but they're his brothers in so many ways. They're part of the team that kept him strong this year. So, today is a really big day for Ted in many ways.
It's a big day for remembering and honoring and being grateful. Ted and I want to take extra time today to honor a young man who left this life too soon on this very day in 2003. He is Ted's brother too. Not biologically perhaps, but his love for his fellow man and joy for life, his kindness and his heroism gave Ted his life. He is Ted's lung donor and our hero and guardian angel.
I remember so well those moments and hours after we got the call that a lung was available for Ted. There were so many emotions to sort through: fear, apprehension, happiness and excitement. Then it hits you like a freight train: The organ you are about to receive means someone else no longer needs it, they are dying. It is the most humbling experience we have ever gone through.
Unlike many organ recipients, Ted and I are so fortunate to have a close relationship with David's family, who have shared David's life with us in pictures and stories. David lived large; he lived life to the fullest in his 34 years.
We know how he spent the last few hours of his life with his family by his side as he lay in a hospital bed in Green Bay. We know his nurse Tracy, who was there to take care of him until he handed his life to God and his no-longer-needed organs to strangers. We visit his final resting place and thank God for this young man and his wonderful gift.
We have several very close friends who are honoring the donor of their gift of life today, too - fellow lung recipients from "that week in 2003" on the transplant floor at UW Hospital and Clinics. Melvin, who received David's other lung; Peggi, who always seems to know when Ted needs extra encouragement; Cindy, who volunteers at the annual David Duranceau Memorial Golf Outing; and Blanca, who sadly is no longer with us.
Today is a day of remembering, a day of honoring, a day filled with gratefulness. It also a day of joyousness. David himself was an organ recipient, so he knows there is joy in giving and there is joy in receiving.
Thank you David for the joy of the last nine years. We love you.