Growing up in an environment where hospitals and doctors become a part of your life can be pretty depressing. This experience has partly turned me into the woman I am now.
My mom, at 46, lost her battle with cancer when I was 15. Shortly afterward, my dad, at 66, would have needed a new heart. The doctors decided against a transplant. He went through five bypasses instead, which worked for some time until he suffered another heart attack and his organs failed.
I was 29 at that point and had no family left. So I decided it was time for a change. I sold out my apartment in Vienna, Austria and moved to Pasadena, California, where some friends of mine lived. They promised me to help me with a new start. My whole life had been reduced to a suitcase, two duffel bags, and a bag pack. Like John Lennon once said: "Life happens while you are busy making plans." In my case things didn't turn out as planned, I decided to return to Vienna. I moved back to my empty apartment, I had no job (I quit before leaving), and had to start all over again. It was a life altering experience but one I don't regret for a single moment. I've met so many wonderful people on this journey and learned that every one of us is carrying a burden in one way or the other.
My wanderlust became the other part of my life, which combined with my passion for TV shows. Several conventions for fans lead me back to the States and some places in Europe. My friend and I run an online community and two blogs, that feature several television shows. Hawaii Five-0 is one of the shows we feature on our blogs and in the community. Since one of the actors on Hawaii Five-0, Alex O’Loughlin recently turned 40 years old, I thought it would be great to come up with something special to celebrate his birthday in our community and that's how I came across Taylor's gift, again.
I've read about Taylor's Gift before but didn't dig too deep. Due to the research work for our birthday project, the name Taylor's Gift crossed my paths more than once. That's how I got involved with this amazing cause. I was deeply moved by the background story and how Taylor's family dealt with the circumstances. They have my deepest respect. And I want to thank each and every one who works for the Foundation and who donates for this great cause. Because you all make a difference and raise awareness for something that might be still a taboo. I love the statement on your site "changing the conversation of organ donation to be a positive one about life."
I was inspired to support the work of Taylor’s Gift Foundation because of the father of a close friend of mine, Tony, who received a heart transplant. He was in his late 40s and turned almost 80! When we sat down once and talked about his transplant, I was curious. I wanted to know if he knew who the donor had been. Tony nodded. "It was a 25-year-old boy, a motorcyclist who got involved in a horrible car crash. He suffered a major head trauma and died." Thanks to this young man, Tony's life changed completely.
Before the surgery he was bedridden, not able to do anything without help, his daily life was a struggle. After the surgery, he started living. He went to the theater with his wife; they went on sea cruises, journeys around the world, and he learned to play golf. The doctors always pointed out that this heart was something special. In one of his darker hours, Tony told me that even before he got sick he'd never felt so alive and full of energy and that he felt sorry that this young man had to die to give an "old fart" like him (Tony's words not mine) the gift of life.