|Don Blair, Organ and Tissue Donor|
We often stated Don (pictured second from left) was a symphony to our souls. He resonated throughout our lives striking every possible note and cord; both major and minor. His life exemplified that symphony. Don was a highly diverse and eclectic individual. He was as comfortable on the football field as he was creating works of art and poetry. He loved life and life loved Don. He was born confident and strong willed, with a high level of energy and a determination to succeed. These attributes were to mark Don's life.
Don was a goal setter who chose to pursue and live out his dreams. Don graduated from Texas Christian University, with a degree in Entrepreneurial Business and a minor in Fashion Merchandising. In the continued pursuit of his dreams, following graduation, he sold his car, took that money and moved to New York City. He talked his way into an internship paying $10.00 a day, convinced he would prove his worth to the company in a short period of time. From that humble beginning, in three short years, he became the Junior Financial Controller for the US division of a ninety million dollar Italian clothing firm. Don was constantly networking, developing relationships and touching lives with his dedication, enthusiasm and love of the chase. We enjoyed living vicariously through his daily emails or phone calls. He was so full of hope and commitment to his future. Even when discouraged, Don was not defeated. His contacts with us were full of his upbeat philosophy as well as constructive criticism of himself. It was Don's hope and desire to impact the lives of others and to be a positive influence in the world. Little did we know how that hope was to be fulfilled.
Don was scheduled to return home to Dayton May 27, 2005 for the Memorial Day weekend. He had become weary of the frantic pace of New York City life and wanted to retreat home and take a quiet break to renew his spirit. Upon arrival to the airport, he learned his flight home was overbooked. Don and his roommate/cousin, Brent, were unable to board the plane together. They chose to re-book their tickets for the next morning with the added incentive of a free voucher for future travel. He was disappointed to be cutting short his weekend home and telephoned to say he missed us and was looking forward to seeing us in the morning......
We received a phone call later that night informing us Don had been struck by a van while riding his bicycle to the store. Brent later joined him at the hospital and called to let us know the severity of the injuries. After speaking with Brent, we realized we needed to be in New York with Don. During the ten hour drive to the city from Dayton we communicated with the hospital staff on a regular basis. Within the first four hours we knew that Don had suffered a non survivable brain injury and had likely suffered brain death. The New York Organ Donor Network was contacted thus starting the wheels in motion to ensure that Don had the opportunity to impact the lives of others. Don's untimely death was defined by sharing a gift of his life. James Adams, an American historian once said, "The greatest use of a life is to spend it for something that will outlast it." exemplifying Don's wishes.
The final chapter of Don's life is defined by saving the lives of the seven recipients of his organs. A single mother who works hard to provide for her family received Don's pancreas. Two people received his kidneys and no longer require frequent and lengthy dialysis treatments. Don's heart remained in the city he loved. A lawyer in New York City is now practicing law with one great "big" heart and a father of five received a portion of Don's liver. A five-month-old baby received the other portion of this organ and now has hope and a future as a result of Don's gift of organ donation. Don has provided the opportunity for over 50 people's lives to be enhanced by his gift of tissues. Don's gift of life to others will outlast his own. He was able to positively impact the lives of so many others who now have the opportunity to continue their lives and leave their own positive mark in the world.
In conclusion, we would like to share a quote found on Don's laptop under "note to self.....":
"DO NOT WAIT FOR THINGS TO HAPPEN TO YOU...MAKE THINGS HAPPEN TO YOU. You are responsible for the majority of your overall happiness: your success, your accomplishments, your life. Take control while you have the time, the resources, and the energy. Practice on being the best possible person you can be. This is your one chance, make it count."
Read Bruce's story
"My life is just like it would've been if I had never gotten sick, but I never, even for a moment, forget the amazing gift I’ve been given."
Read Tony's story
Tony Huesman exemplified the difference organ donation can make in someone’s life. At the age of 20, he was given three months to live. Thanks to the generous gift from an organ donor, Tony was able to touch hearts and souls for 31 additional years.