The 2010 Polar Plunge at Man Made Lake is just hours away, and I'm gearing up for my annual pre-plunge jump today at Noon. Every year this event comes around (several times in this area, I might add) and I get a lot of questions on why I do this. While there are several reasons for jumping into a frozen lake, the biggest one for me is Awareness.
While not on the same level by any means, I think of the Special Olympics as I do Organ Donation... both are very important to help/get involved with, but until it directly affects you, you may not be aware of these 2 very important things.
One of the Special Olympics Athletes (Olympian) is Adam Domino. I have known Adam for years now, and he is such a motivational force for jumping in the water, and I mean that in a great way! Everytime I get ready to jump into the frozen water, I dunno if I can make that first step/dive/jump into the freezing water... however, for Adam, he's ready to go every year and goes in without batting an eyelash. That kind of motivation and initiative makes it MUCH EASIER for me to that step forward into the cold lake. I would like to commend and thank everyone involved with Special Olympics Wisconsin, from all their yearly events, to the big annual polar plunges in the area/state... you all make a huge difference in people's lives! I look forward to spending time with y'all out there tomorrow!
While I'm on my soap box here, let me spout off a bit on Organ Donation. I am a lot like maybe many of you... you've heard of it, maybe have thought about putting it on your driver's license, but just haven't found the time to do it yet. Well, I was like that up until the year 2000.... which is the year my Father was put on a transplant list, looking for a new kidney. My father had always told my brother and I while growing up, that someday he would need a kidney. Well, if you hear that for 20 years or so of childhood, you kind of become numb/oblivious of it, until that day arrives. I had no idea what dialysis was, but the first time I saw my father hooked up to it, I was horrified. Don't get me wrong, it's a necessary procedure and is live saving, but in the process of watching it take its toll on my father's condition in the course of 5 hours... I just couldn't stand to see it happen. Dialysis (referring to Hemo, not Peritoneal, which is still hard on the body) is a live saving procedure in which, a machine is hooked up to your arm to filter, process and clean the impurities from your blood (waste and fluid). This is to take the place of a kidney when someone no longer has kidney function. It is not a perfect way of "acting" like a kidney, but it is the best thing out there for right now.
I watched my father get hooked up (Needles in his arm, which is deformed a bit due to a shunt being put in), and the process starts off... the machine is noisy and actively runs and has movement. Within in the first hour, my father's complexion went from his normally dark complexion to very pale/white. His blood pressure dropped to under 100/60 and you can truly see the toll it takes on a person's body. My father went 3 times a week, for 5 hours a time for almost 4 years. If you think about it, it was like a part time job, in addition to his normal job of teaching... and he was lucky, there are people actively waiting on the donor list for over 4 years!
While I was getting ready to donate one of my kidneys back in 2004 (about 4 years after starting dialysis), I got the call one day that my father was going to receive a kidney from a donor. (I'm now tearing up while writing this, it gets me every time...) My father now lives today, because of the generosity of an Organ Donor....
The next time you're near the Dept. of Motor Vehicles, please consider becoming an organ donor,,, and don't forget to tell your loved ones of your wish to do so. There are over 90,000 people in this country that need at least one type of organ, which is a huge and staggering number. You can find out more: http://www.wisdonornetwork.org/index.html
Sorry for the seriousness of this blog, it's not normally like me.... but it's a serious and important topic.
I'll leave this blog on a good note... it's Suntabulous today! Enjoy!
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