Today Mike, the boys, and I had the opportunity to hand out organ donation information for UW at Golden Sands Speedway, the local race track. We met up with Trey Schwab, Outreach Director at UW's Organ Procurement Organization. I had met Trey last month at the Donate Life event I spoke at in Wausau. When I originally signed up to volunteer for UW, Trey was the one who I corresponded with so we have had several opportunities to chat via email as well. Today through talking with Trey we found out a little bit about his background. Trey was an assistant basketball coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves and also Marquette University. In fact, Mike noticed that Trey was wearing a Final Four ring from the 2002-03 season when Dwayne Wade played for Marquette. Being a huge basketball fan, Josh was way impressed! We got busy with our duties today and at one point it started raining hard so our time was cut a little short. When we got home I realized that I never asked Trey about his donation story. I only knew that he was an organ recipient -- but I didn't even know which organ! I figured since he had been a basketball coach I could likely find his story online. I Googled his name and was amazed at what I read. I wanted to update my blog today to give you a brief synopsis of Trey's incredible story. So here it is:
Trey had the rare lung disorder known as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Without a double lung transplant he would die. In February of 2004 Trey got the call that a set of lungs was available for him. After a very successful lung transplant Trey was in the ICU at UW Hospital. One day Trey stood up from his bed and realized he just didn't feel right. He was having trouble breathing. Doctors soon realized that Trey had a 16 inch blood clot wedged between his pulmonary arteries. He stopped breathing and the hospital started CPR. Trey went a full 40 minutes with no pulse while doctors rushed him into the operating room for surgery to remove the clot. His doctor, Dr. Robert Love, the head of the lung transplant program at UW said that the vast majority of patients would never leave the operating room alive. But the other thing Dr. Love did was pray, because he says that some things are simply out of doctors' hands. As you know, since my family spent the day with Trey today, he did indeed survive that day. Trey had not one, but two miracles -- the first when he received his lungs and the second when he was literally brought back from death.
Every time I hear an organ donation story it amazes me. My passion continues to be in educating people in what organ donation can do. We had several people tell us today when we were handing out information that they were not healthy enough to be a donor. But that is simply untrue in most cases. Even unhealthy people can often contribute something -- if not organs, perhaps tissue, corneas, skin, or bone. You would be amazed.
We also worked alongside a man by the name of Steve today. Steve's daughter tragically died at the age of 21. In her death, over 40 people received the gift of life. Incredible. Simply incredible. Organ donation works.