My amazing journey began in 2004, the year when the Boston Red Sox won the World Series for the first time in 86 years, when I was diagnosed with liver disease. Independent Meeting & Event Services (IMES) began a few years later in April of 2006. That’s when I took the jump to a third-party planner.
In the fall of 2010, I became very ill with liver disease. In 2012 I was the lucky recipient of a liver from a deceased donor. I have been told that usually this operation is almost routine. Most patients experience a 7 to 10 day hospital stay. That was not the case for me.
I had a six month hospital stay. It was not easy. I had difficulties. I went into a coma. When I closed my eyes fall was in full bloom. When I woke up it was Christmas. My dear friend Cassandra sat by my bedside every day. She decorated my hospital room for the holiday and had Christmas music playing for me in the background. It was almost St. Patrick’s day when I was finally released from the hospital. The rest as they say is history.
During this whole time, my one and only daughter was fighting a cancerous tumor. She was only 32 years old! She had gone in for an operation to try to remove the tumor. I could not be at her bedside, because I was in a hospital across town. There she was on a gurney being wheeled down to surgery. It was not my hand that held hers. It was the hand of my best friend, Cassandra. She went in my place to be by my daughter’s side on the day of her surgery. My daughter's tumor was terminal. After the operation she was left with severe physical injuries, heartache, and unbelievable pain. But she faced treatment with strength and grace. Still, it's not the way anyone wants their daughter to live a life.
My friends told me that during my coma they heard me say I had to live to help my daughter. The doctors fought hard to save my life. By the time I got out of the hospital, my daughter was given only a few months to live and was put under in-home hospice care. I was able to be by her side almost every day from when I got home in April to the end of her life. I praise God, UCH and my donor for giving me that opportunity!
I just told you when I closed my eyes fall was in the air. When I woke, things had changed. Christmas had come. My daughter was still alive! My heart was filled with humility, thankfulness, and praise. I am telling my story to save lives, just as mine and my daughter’s were saved. What a miracle to be able to save a life. What a great legacy to leave behind!
You would think that was enough hardship for one person to handle, but God had other ideas. During all this, my mom began suffering from strokes. My younger sister, Marcia, lost her battle with liver disease in the Spring of 2012. Then my mom passed in the Spring of 2014. My daughter lost her battle with cancer in the Summer of 2014.
In sharing my story, I am hopeful that I can help to inspire others to say “yes” to organ, eye and tissue donation. DonatelifeColorado.org is a great resource with the facts you need to make an informed decision about donation and to register as a donor online. You can also register while obtaining a driver’s license or state ID.
Look at me now! I have been able to go back to school to finish my Bachelor’s Degree and was able to be there in my sister, my mom and my daughter’s time of need. All of this happened because someone gave me the ultimate gift of life. My daughter told me that she believes if I had not lived, she would not have made it as long. One gift actually saved two lives! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Now life has settled down again. I have come away with a renewed appreciation of life. As a result, we changed our focus of the company. As of January 2016, our new focus is to Celebrate Life through Special Events. We are rolling out with a new name of IMESevents, new logo, and new website.