The Story of Molly. The Story of an Organ Donor.

A Special Organ Donor: Molly FairBairnMolly was 26 – beautiful, vivacious, fun loving, intelligent, kind…(I could continue with the adjectives but I think you get my point).

On June 30th, she “fell” in a grocery store in the LA area – she literally just fell backwards as if someone had shoved her.  Her head hit the concrete floor – and within 3 1/2 hours it went from “Molly fell in a store” to a conversation with a neurosurgeon in LA (we live in Missouri) where he said “She has no chance at survival – there is nothing we can do”.
Talk about getting hit with a brick…

But, because it was only her brain that sustained the damage (autopsy results are still inconclusive but are leaning toward “massive stroke”), her other organs were in great shape.  We kept her on the ventilator for 2 days, just until the actual declaration of brain-death and then it took 2 more days to get the transplant teams, recipients, etc together…the longest 4 days of our lives.

She had been attending UCLA and had 3 more classes to complete her BA in Psychology.  She was in her first of the 3 courses at this time.  She loved LA and planned to make it her home after graduation.  (UCLA has offered to award her her degree posthumously which we think is very kind of them.)

Anyway, on the night of July 4th, amidst the fireworks in the LA sky, the first of 4 helicopters took off from the medical center – and carried her heart home to UCLA to their transplant team waiting there.  Our hearts broke and rejoiced at the same time…

The other copters carried away one lung, both kidneys and her liver…although we are waiting for our generic letter from our donor group, it does appear that 5 different people received organs.

We SO want to know about those people.  Our thoughts and hopes for them is what keeps us going every day.  It was so unfair for us to lose Molly and we feel so lost and hopeless – but knowing that others are living is what gives us hope.

I wear a “Donate Life” bracelet that I got years ago.  (I found it in a box the day after Molly died).  I had gotten it from a booth at a fair – my husband’s job also had a booth and I can’t even remember what we were doing there.  But, at the Donate Life booth, I spent a lot of time talking to this man.  He was telling me all about organ donation, etc…and he showed me a photo.  It was of him, hugging a young woman (maybe in her 20s or 30s) very close to him.  He told me that she was listening to her husband’s heart beating in his chest.  I was so choked up and touched by that I cried as he told me that story.

Shannon -that would be my dream – to someday lay my head against the chest that holds Molly’s heart.  Or to hold the hand of the person who has her liver or to feel the breath of the person who has her lung…

Please, please keep spreading your word to the recipients of the importance of contacting the donor family.  Tell them not to be afraid of sharing their joy…we want to share their joy too.  Our grief is real and it will always be there and please don’t let that be a deterrent to them.  We NEED to know about them.

Even though it has only been a month, I think that each day could be the day that our phone will ring or there will be a letter in our mailbox.

After her husband received a double-lung (bilateral) transplant in 2004, Shannon founded the Angel Cove Organ Donation Awareness Shop, which provides awareness t-shirts and gifts products for transplant recipients, living organ donors and donor families - giving 100% of the profits to help heart and lung transplant recipients with medical costs. Shannon lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her wonderful husband and two chocolate Labrador Retrievers.

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