December 16, 2010

"How do you convey to the mother who lost her daughter what it meant to my parents, who very nearly were in the same position, for giving me this gift?"

Said Jessica Melore who had a massive heart attack at the age of 16:
"I looked the doctor in the eye, and I said, 'Am I going to die?'?" Jessica recalls.

"He looked at me and didn't say anything. That terrified me. I thought to myself, Is this it? It can't be. I have my whole life ahead of me. When you're 16, the last thing you think is that you're going to be facing you own mortality."...

Jessica needed an immediate heart transplant, but no matching hearts were available, so surgeons implanted a device into her abdomen to pump for the decimated left side of her heart. The left ventricular assist device (or LVAD) connected to a battery pack outside of her body. It would keep Jessica alive during the nine-month wait for a heart.

Still, she was determined to live the life of a normal teenager. With a prosthetic left leg and carrying the LVAD, she went back to school in November.

"One of my biggest fears is missing out on life and not making the most of it," she says. "I wanted to participate in as many high school activities as I possibly could, and my friends and my family and my community rallied around me."

She was a lead in the school musical "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." She went on the choir trip to Disney World, was secretary of the school's glee club and made National Honor Society. Her classmates named her prom queen that spring.
On page 2, at the link, you can see the beautiful prom-queen picture. That's with the LVAD and the prosthetic leg, not long before the donor heart became available.

34 comments:

ricpic said...

What can one say? There are superior people. Me? I would have got in the fetal position for those nine months.

LL said...

Not only that, in her 20's she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphom. Man, that young lady has been tested a lot in her short life.

traditionalguy said...

Death is the enemy. Don't ever forget that. The No Surrender attitude to death shown by this young lady is a good example for all. She will likely be a Tea Party supporter.

k*thy said...

An amazing story. Hero's abound.

David said...

Now that was a great resume builder for Princeton.

Blessings to the donor and her family.

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, what some people will do to beef up the soft variables for their Princeton application.

edutcher said...

Both those ladies are going to have a very special place in Heaven, comes the time.

David said...

Now that was a great resume builder for Princeton.

Sad to say, they'll probably pick another Michelle Robinson over this young lady.

The Elder said...

"She's also making each day count."

Good for her. It's a lesson that I wish I had learned at the age of 16. Unfortunately, it too often requires a brush with mortality to comprehend and appreciate the gift that each day offers.

Larry J said...

When I decided to be an organ donor, I told my family in deliberately crude terms so there could be no possible misunderstanding about my wishes.

"When I die, strip me for parts and burn the rest."

bagoh20 said...

I'm on year 5 with 4 pounds of healthy female liver in me, keeping me here and giving me literally everything I have. There is nothing any of us will ever do that even comes close to the miracle a person can be when they donate their organs. So powerful, amazing, and helpful, and you don't need to be a hero, brave, or even spend a penny. Please think about doing the best thing you ever will, before it's too late. Just fill out a form and put a sticker on your license, that's all there is too it, and poof, you just made a miracle, saved lives, and played God, which I doubt he would mind one bit.

AllenS said...

I just delivered my toys for the Toys for Tots program. Seems like kind of a small gift from me. If everyone gave something in their life, well then...

k*thy said...

Bagoh – I’m glad for you. I’ve got a good friend who received a liver transplant and it changed his life in ways he never imagined. Never waste a second chance.

Unfortunately, it too often requires a brush with mortality to comprehend and appreciate the gift that each day offers.

I dunno, some of us need a smack upside the head. 10 years ago, I had my own brush and am grateful for it. What’s actually unfortunate, is if we look it in the eye and waste the opportunity.

JAL said...

What everyone said. An amazing story. And each page click increased my "oh my word!" responses.

Humans are amazing. We so often default to selfishness and fear and ugliness.

And then along comes the overcomer and we are stunned by our ability to transcend.

May God bless both these families with deep contentment and comfort especially at this time of year, when we sometimes struggle to see through the jingle bells to glimpse the supreme gift of life He offers.

Skyler said...

Good for her.

Personally, if I were in her situation, the very last place in the world I would want to be is in high school, but if that's what she wanted then I'm happy for her.

Clyde said...

Very touching. I feel a John Boehner moment coming on...

PaulV said...

I donated 84 units of blood, hoping to make century mark before I came down with myasthenia gravis. I cannot donate again unless it goes into remission. It is controlled with medication, so I am fortunate. As a muscle disease it is supported by MDA. I went to MDA meeting and realized how fortunate I was. They told me about their relativse that lived into 90s with MG. Their courage humbled me.

rhhardin said...

Tears, diseases and weddings.

peter hoh said...

edutcher, if your knee keeps jerking that fast, you'll wear it out.

MamaM said...

@ Rhhardin Some dogs see into the hearts of owner mammals, and proceed to soften them, lick by lick. Dogs know what humans cover.

rhhardin said...

Try foregrounding the publishing -business aspect, and what they know about audience.

JAL said...

And bagho, I am happy you are with us in this virtual community as well as your own real one.

Do you still hang glide?

MadisonMan said...

Excellent story. I can't add anything else that has not already been said.

Larry J said...

PaulV said...
I donated 84 units of blood, hoping to make century mark before I came down with myasthenia gravis.


I can relate, Paul. I donated blood several times a year for over 20 years. However, 15 years ago they told me I couldn't donate any more because of a medical condition. It was a sad day. Donating blood is giving a gift of life to others. I hope your condition improves soon so you can resume donating. I'll never get that opportunity.

edutcher said...

peter hoh said...

edutcher, if your knee keeps jerking that fast, you'll wear it out.

No jerk, at least on my part. That's the sort of thing places like Princeton do these days.

I have no doubt, though, that Miss Melore will prevail.

HKatz said...

"...I realized that you can't always control what happens to you, but you can control what you do about it."

One of the best lessons someone can learn and teach to others.

Sofa King said...

"...I realized that you can't always control what happens to you, but you can control what you do about it."

Reminds me of...

"I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

FloridaSteve said...

Sitting here crying a little... but in a good way. Time to go hug my daughter. Thanks.

FloridaSteve said...

I don't know if Princeton deserves her.

Sofa King said...

I want to add this is why Stoicism is the best philosophy.

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

Here's a clip of a mother hearing her dead teenage daughter's heart beat again in the donor recipient's body. It's pretty amazing. And wrenching.

http://www.wfaa.com/home/related/Heartbeat-brings-joy-to-parents-of-Coppell-donor-103431969.html

Paul Brinkley said...

Time to go double-check whether I'm registered as an organ donor.

Methadras said...

Great story. Truly people of strength and hope here.

Eric said...

I want to add this is why Stoicism is the best philosophy.

Oh? Seems to me it lends just as much support for the "eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die" outlook. Just depends on how you want to look at it.

peter hoh said...

edutcher, your comment revealed that you had not bothered to read the article. Had you read it before making your snide remark, you would have found out that Melore had been admitted to Princeton.