Kristin Millar was diagnosed with a heart condition when she was still in her teens – the one that some apparently healthy people don’t find out they have till they drop dead on the basketball court. Late last year, when she was twenty-six, the defibrillator that kept her heart beat regular failed. An external pump now circulates her blood through her body, and she must always be with someone trained in what to do if something goes wrong – trained and prepared to take on the responsibility.
She needs a new heart. Last week, after months of waiting to be strong enough, she was officially deemed a good candidate for a transplant.
As she waits, aware that her gain will mean someone else’s loss, Kristin inspires her parents, her sister, her extended family and her circle of friends with her courage and her ability to delight in small moments and to laugh. The family’s young Bernese Mountain Dog is a constant companion.
Kristin has told her parents she would like, at some point, to become involved in raising awareness of how important it is for people to sign their organ donor cards and to make their families aware of their wishes. (Her friends all signed theirs this year.) I have no doubt that this remarkable young woman will accomplish whatever she sets out to do, once she is strong enough again to undertake her ambitions.
Today, I found out that one organ donor can save the lives of eight people and assist the lives of 50 more! For more information, and to download a donor card, visit the Canadian Society of Transplantation.
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Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.