Tuesday, January 17, 2012

for one good breath

Every summer of my youth, I worked up at a church camp. I met too many people to count. Counsellors, staff, clergy, families and campers. So many campers. Not only is it a residential - sleep-away - camp, entire families visit, staying in tents or trailers. Some families would come every summer. And some of those families were ones that we staff not only got to know, we got to love them. When we knew they were coming, we were very, very excited.

Because they were awesome. Because they exuded love. Because they were joyful.

And because we adored their kids.

Hélène was one such kid. A kid no longer, she is fighting the fight of her life, the fight for her life. Now 20 years old, she's been diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Her lungs are broken. They don't work anymore.

She needs new ones.

But new lungs are tricky to get, particularly when so many perfectly usable lungs - along with kidneys, livers, hearts, corneas... - are simply not being used because people aren't signing their organ donor card and are failing to tell their loved ones that they want to donate.

Hear me now, world: I WANT TO BE A DONOR. Don't waste anything: if it's usable, take it, because I won't need it anymore.

After we lost Laura, I know I, and likely many of my fellow dancers, felt a great sense of solace in knowing how many lives she touched, how many lives she saved, because her organs were not wasted.

But people need to think ahead. We need to think about and talk about organ donation before it becomes an issue. People need to talk about it now. And maybe, just maybe, people like Hélène won't have to wait for so long.

Please: join me in tweeting @JustinBieber on Thursday, January 19. We're tweeting to urge everyone to #BeAnOrganDonor. To raise hope for Hélène.

To learn more about Hélène, you can read her story on alungstory.ca.

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