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Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Big Diagnosis

Being diagnosed or having a child diagnosed with a liver disease, as with other diseases, is a traumatic experience. There were many things I learned, as did the main character of my book on Biliary Atresia (Angel Donor) at the onset of my child's liver disease. After battling the emotions that go along with something so scary, I found some things to be helpful. Here are some tips I came up with during our ongoing battle with, liver disease and transplantation:


  • Stay Calm - take a deep breath and remember to care for yourself and your child. Remember, you can't help your child if you aren't yourself. He/she needs you.
  • Find Support-While it is important to remain clam, finding support for yourself is equally important.Joining a group with others going through similar issues will help empower you and help you learn more. Remember, however, never substitute this information for your doctor's information. The doctor knows your child and his her condition. 
  • Don't Forget Date Night-Many times marriages suffer when a close family member is ill. Be sure to keep those dates with your spouse. Single Parent? It is still important to get out. Make plans with friends or siblings and have a good time. Taking time for yourself makes you a better parent to your child.
  • Trust Your Doctor- Be sure you follow your doctor's advice. They have seen many things, medically, and they are working with you to help your child. That said, don't be afraid to ask questions if you don't understand something, or speak up when you feel something is wrong. Your input it crucial!
  • Write About It- Use a journal or an online journal to record your experiences during this time. Record the ups and downs and how you got through them. Online journals,like Caringbridge also allows you to share updates with families and friends, which is useful for those late night E.R. visits and everyone wants to know what's going on.


Below is an inspirational image I created. Please share it as Olivia and I hope to help as many families as we can.




Monday, February 11, 2013

Memory

This weekend I found out a dear friend in our church community died. He was waiting for a heart transplant, but did not get his heart in time. The shortage of organs is very real and the effect of that shortage can hit anywhere or anyone. 




Who was this person? He was a father, grandfather, friend, family, parishioner, a leader, an umpire, and a CTK softball General Manager. When he umped games, he taught children about the game. He was brave enough to get behind the batters in the batting cage-catchers learning their position often missed catching the ball and the balls hit his ankles instead. He will always be remembered for all he did and who he was. 


MEMORY

He loved the young kids,
It showed on his face,
He smiled through games,
He taught kids with grace.

He gave kids a sport,
Everyone could go play,
"Have fun! Play Nice!"
And all'd be okay.

He taught and he umped,
For me and for you.
All so our kids
Had a fun thing to do.

"Softball" and "Quinn"
Were names all as one.
No one could top
Everything he'd done.

Where ever you'd go,
Where ever you'd stay,
You'd hear the name Quinn
And think "C.T.K."

So off now to Heaven,
Our dear John Quinn,
May that ballfield be greater
Than the one you began in.

--With much love,
Jennifer Gladen and Family 





Saturday, January 19, 2013

Angel Donor Comes in First

My third children's book, Angel Donor, just won the 2012 Preditors and Editors Best Children's Book Award. See the official list here. Out of 39 children's novels and picture books, Angel Donor came in first place. 

But Angel Donor wasn't the only Guardian Angel Publishing (GAP) book to place in the top 10:


Angels Do That - by Tracy Cox  5th place

The Wishing Well, Another Weaver Tale by Kai Strand  9th place

And Ava's Secret Tea Party by Donna Shepherd came in 17th place.

CONGRATS TO ALL WINNERS!!


Angel Donor is a children's book about one little girl's journey toward a liver transplant. I wrote the book to help raise awareness about organ donation, but mostly to help children going through that process deal with what is happening with them. I wanted a book with which these brave children could identify.

I must say, Angel Donor's supporters really came through. As a way to celebrate I'm holding a drawing for a free autographed copy of the book. 




If you joined the event Vote For Angel Donor on Facebook and you "Like" Angel Donor on Facebook, you will automatically be entered to win. You can earn extra entries by "Liking" my author page on Facebook,and by following this blog too.  Just post a comment here or on Vote for Angel Donor that you liked my page(s) and or followed my blog. After I verify the info, I'll add your name and extra entries to the drawing. Winner will be announced Friday January 25th here on my blog and on my pages.  Thank you all for your support! 



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tabitha's Wish

Today I have a special treat for you. The other night I spoke with Mr. Duncan McLindon of Tabitha's Wish. Tabitha's Wish is a special community page on Facebook. But it's not just any community page. It's a page aimed to make a difference.





Tabitha's Wish

When I asked Duncan, Tabitha's father, what Tabitha's Wish was, he told me a very touching story. Tabitha wanted to open a checking account at the small age of twelve. In order to do that, she had to have an ID card. So, her mother took her to the Department of Motor Vehicles and helped her get a non driving ID. A routine part of the process was for the clerk to ask if the person getting the ID wanted to be an organ donor and have that on their card. Without hesitation, Tabitha said yes. Only one thing confused her. She heard someone next to her say no. On her way home, she asked her mother why the man said no.

We don't really know why the man said no, but it could be due to the myths and rumors often spread about organ donation. 


If everyone who is eligible to donate their organs donates, there would not be a list."
~~Duncan McLindon 



Just one week later, Tabitha was rushed to the hospital. One minute she was enjoying a skating party with her friends, the next she was fighting for her life. After diagnosing her with a rare brain bleed, her doctors did everything they could to care for her. Finally, they told the family that there was nothing else they could do to save her and within days she passed away. Since Tabitha had never been  seriously sick before, she was eligible to be an organ donor. When Tabitha's family was asked if Tabitha could donate her organs, the family knew, without hesitation, what Tabitha's wish was. There was no question. Tabitha's wish was to be an organ donor. And her wish saved the lives of seven people. Tabitha's Wish is all about getting Tabitha's story out there, spreading the word about organ donation and helping tell the story of organ donation from the donor's side.  To read more about her story, please visit and like the page: Tabitha's Wish



Remembering Tabitha


Tabitha's father Duncan told me with enthusiasm when I asked who Tabitha was. What were her likes an dislikes? One thing I learned was she loved horses and was great with them. She was a "natural rider."

"She won her first Saddle at 5 years old," Duncan said with pride. She was a child who loved to learn, but also loved Taylor Swift's music. She got good grades and was on the honor roll. She even won a music award in her short life.






Almost 1 year to the day of Tabitha's death, Duncan McLindon started Tabitha's Wish to spread the word about the importance of organ donation and talking to your family members about your decision. He began doing radio and television interviews.Now, Tabitha's Wish on Facebook has over 11,000 followers. Not only is Tabitha living on through the seven people her organs went to, but now thousands of people know about this heroic child. 


The Interview


During the interview with Duncan, I got to ask some questions and learn all about this family and his sincere love of his precious daughter. After talking about this heartwarming story, I had some other questions for Duncan.

Me: What would you say to some who says they don't want to be a donor because they are afraid their own doctors won't take good care of them in order to harvest organs?

Duncan McLindon: A doctor is sworn to do everything to save the life of their patient. Also very few people who die are eligible to donate organs. If you are in an accident and are fatally wounded, the EMTs will work to save you no matter what. They are not part of the Transplant Team.  Also, if you die while the EMTs are working on you, and you have Organ Donor on your ID, the EMTS will continue their life saving efforts (because the organs need the oxygen). With this happening, there's even a small chance of a miracle on the way to the hospital. However, if you are not an organ donor, all life saving efforts stop as soon as death is declared. 

Me: Have you ever been allowed to communicate with any of the families Tabitha helped? As a parent of a child who received a liver, I think about her donor every day. I owe her donor everything. Since we haven't been blessed with thanking them personally, we often pray for the family and the donor.

Duncan M: I've met the little girl who received Tabitha's liver. (Editor's note: See Tabitha's Wish for more stories and pictures of these meetings.)

There is also a story about the person who received Tabitha's lungs.When I asked her what she wanted to do after she got a transplant, she said, "I think I'll dance." 

Me: Why do you think it is important to spread the word about Organ Donation? 

Duncan M: It is important to get the word out so potential donors won't miss the opportunity of saving a life out of grief. Often, when someone close to us passes, we are overwhelmed. And if we never have discussed organ donation, it is likely we will say no out of our grief. Also, once you decide to be an organ donor, it is important to let your family know your wish. Even if you have an Organ Donor card or it is on your ID, if your family says no, the doctors won't do it. Also, if everyone who is eligible to donate their organs donates, there would not be a list.

Me: What do you think Tabitha would say about the success of Tabitha's Wish?

Duncan M:  I think she'd say, "Thank you for making my wish come true."


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Time to Vote for Angel Donor

This year Angel Donor is participating in the Preditors and Editors Reader's Poll.





This is an Internet poll on books of all categories. It is designed to help authors gain exposure for their work and help readers discover the newest books out there. As taken from the Preditors and Editors (P&E) site, "As part of our overall effort to assist and promote writers, we are proud to present the annual Preditors and Editors Reader's Poll".  P&E is also well known for their vigilance in warning authors about publishing scams.


Here is more information on Angel Donor:

Olivia never asked to have a disease like Biliary Atresia. It made her liver sick and only a transplant will make her better. After waiting several months and close to losing hope, she gets the call she's been waiting for. The journey of her life is about to begin.

PLEASE VOTE FOR ANGEL DONOR TODAY in the CHILDREN'S CATEGORY:
http://www.critters.org/predpoll/novelchildrens.shtml

Feel free to add a  comment about Angel Donor. I have been humbled by some of the nice things put up there.  Enjoy, Happy Voting and HAPPY NEW YEAR!