The Epic Journey to Alaska and My Future
By Randy Small, Heart transplant recipient- May, 2004
2,468.2. That’s a big number! It’s the number of miles that my best friend, Debbi, and I had driven just to meet them. It had been a
remarkable journey, I thought, as I stood in front of the “Welcome to Homer” sign and looked over the railing at the sea. What had begun nearly four years ago was reaching another milestone. I was meeting my donor family in person and all of Homer, it seemed, for the first time and I was terrified!
I was terrified of not being ‘good enough” to give just a little bit of closure to Kate’s (my donor) family. Was my life worth their loss? Would they find comfort in the fact that I was walking, talking and back to living my rather ordinary life because of their extraordinary gift? I carried within me the “Heart of a Hero,” their daughter, sister, niece and friend. Would they all see the miracle that is the Gift of Life? Would they feel my gratitude?
Three years later, and I am now reading a Facebook message from my heart’s aunt and on the 13th of July I will celebrate my heart’s birthday as it turns 30 years old. It was perfectly normal for me to feel that I would be judged by them, but I never knew I would be accepted into their family. They know that I honor Kate’s legacy daily and am trying to live my life the way Kate wanted when she decided to become an organ and tissue Donor. She wanted someone to live and saved not only my life, but helped 11 other people.
Because of her Gift my journey continues…
Randy hugging Bridget, his donor Kate’s mom.