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Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

Blessed and Sad

Posted Thursday, May 20, 2010, at 3:07 PM

I was blessed one of many times in my life 18 years ago tomorrow when I received a kidney transplant at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

So many people immediately come to my mind as I write this blog: My wonderful wife, Harriet and our son, David, who tried to hide their concern and stay upbeat for my benefit, co-workers at the T-G who stood by me and encounraged me, , Dr. Clara Womack, who convinced me at Southern Hills Hospital that a kidney transplant was the answer for me, Dr. Robert Richie, the skilled surgeon who performed the transplant surgery and Dr. Harold Helderman, who is in demand all over the world to lecture on transplants, and who was there for me when I went on the transplant list and has been my transplant doctor since the surgery.

One person I have thought of thousands of times, including very often today, is my donor. I didn't know then and I still don't know his name or anything about him.

He lost his life 18 years ago tonight and gave me life.

Transplant recipients are allowed to write a letter to the family of the donor. It is up to the family as to whether or not to respond. I wrote the letter, but have never heard from them.

For 18 years now I've regarded him as a caring, thoughtful buddy who is right here with me at all times.

One of the slogans used by groups seeking organ donations uses. "Don't take your organs to Heaven. Heaven knows we need them here."

Heaven is where I hope to meet my donor, hug him and say, "Thanks buddy. We've sure shared some exciting times together, all because of you."

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

What a great blog! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and emotions . . . May God continue to bless you!

-- Posted by bbbluebird on Thu, May 20, 2010, at 6:15 PM

that was really a awesome blog. I am grateful you had a donor and know for the family of the lost one.. it is bittersweet.

-- Posted by 4fabfelines on Thu, May 20, 2010, at 7:14 PM

Just wonderful! Thanks for sharing this with us!

-- Posted by Average_Joe on Thu, May 20, 2010, at 8:31 PM

Thanks Bo. I hope mine are still of value when I finally check out.

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, May 20, 2010, at 8:44 PM

Bo, I remember that day 18 years ago and I know how important this day has been to you all these years.

Thanks for sharing it with us again!

-- Posted by Gary Johnson on Thu, May 20, 2010, at 10:15 PM

Thanks Bo. I pray that God will continue to watch over you.

-- Posted by leeiii on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 7:04 AM

So many times we forget the many blessings we have in life and only look at the negativity but fortunately stories like yours remind us to see how lucky we are and that life should never be taken for granted and should be lived to the fullest.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 7:38 AM

You brought tears to my eyes, but they are happy tears. I remember that day, and I am sure that there were a lot of prayers for you that day, and the many days that followed. We have many blessings that have been bestowed upon us and so much to be thankful for especially that day. You were in good hands at Vanderbilt, and someone was guiding those hands from above.

-- Posted by cookie on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 7:45 AM

Once again Bo shows he is a class act all the way! I have always seen the respect and concern in person and in every news article he wrote. He is truly a prime example of an outstanding citizen, news writer, and friend. Keep plugging, BO!

-- Posted by justconcerned on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 8:21 AM

Bo Melson was very lucky to get a ¬¬¬¬¬Kidney transplant. Over 50% of Americans on the national waiting list will die before they get a transplant. Most of these deaths are needless. Americans bury or cremate 20,000 transplantable organs every year.

There is another good way to put a big dent in the organ shortage -- if you don't agree to donate your organs when you die, then you go to the back of the waiting list if you ever need an organ to live.

Giving organs first to organ donors will convince more people to register as organ donors. It will also make the organ allocation system fairer. About 50% of the organs transplanted in the United States go to people who haven't agreed to donate their own organs when they die.

Anyone who wants to donate their organs to others who have agreed to donate theirs can join LifeSharers. LifeSharers is a non-profit network of organ donors who agree to offer their organs first to other organ donors when they die. Membership is free at www.lifesharers.org or by calling 1-888-ORGAN88. There is no age limit, parents can enroll their minor children, and no one is excluded due to any pre-existing medical condition. LifeSharers has over 13,900 members, including 467 members in Tennessee.

Please contact me -- Dave Undis, Executive Director of LifeSharers -- if your readers would like to learn more about our innovative approach to increasing the number of organ donors. I can arrange interviews with some of our local members if you're interested. My email address is daveundis@lifesharers.org. My phone number is 615-351-8622.

-- Posted by LIFESHARERS on Fri, May 21, 2010, at 10:17 AM

actually, not only was bo blessed, but also those of us who consider him a friend, as well as all who enjoyed his writing during all these extra years.

-- Posted by lazarus on Sat, May 22, 2010, at 10:36 AM

Organ donation is by far one of the most unselfish and compassionate act of any human being. Organ donors continue to live on in the blessings they provide for others in many ways as your thoughtful words describe. It's obvious that you consider this young man your personal hero in a world where heroes are hard to find. Great blog Bo!

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Sun, May 23, 2010, at 10:47 AM

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Bo Melson is a retired sports and police beat editor of the Times-Gazette. He passed away November 15, 2014, at age 81.
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