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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."

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