I imagine this day six years ago was pretty hectic for you. A phone call, frantic packing to get ready, the nervous preparations for an operation that would change your life.

For us, the preparations were much different. A church service, picking a grave site, phone calls from family and friends, and trying to figure out how we were ever going to say goodbye.

Throughout that week I found solace in knowing our daughter’s death was going to give you a new chance at life. To know her heart was going to beat in some one else’s chest was a gift we knew she would have loved to give.

It was a close call. The doctors told us at the time that if she didn’t pass in the next few hours organ donation wouldn’t be possible. As it was, Rehtaeh lived long enough for her friends and family to say goodbye. Any longer and her organs would start to shutdown.

I was holding her hand when the last part of her life left us. Her blood pressure dropped and that was it, after three long days.

I’m grateful a part of her is still here, somewhere. Beating fast in some sport, beating on a sunny beach, in a classroom, laying on a bed lost in a dream that might not have been dreamt without her.

A few months after Rehtaeh died your letter came. I read it over all the time and mention it when I talk about her life. It’s a beautiful reminder of her that I will always cherish.

I wish you well in life.

Thank you for your wonderful letter.

Dear Donor Family,

I am writing this letter to you, to say thank you. I am a heart transplant recipient.

This year, I had suddenly become unwell. I was eventually diagnosed with Idiopathic Cardiac Myopathy – heart failure. The doctors believe that it was caused by a virus.

The doctors told me that I would need a new heart. I was only seventeen years old. It all seemed like a bad dream. My family and friends were scared because I almost died. Fortunately for me I received a new heart.

It seems to me that there aren’t any words to really say how grateful that I am for this new heart. For me, my family and friends it was and is truly a gift. Thank you and thank you for your loved one.

My family has always signed the donor section on our health cards. I would like you to know that I have always chosen a healthy life style. Before all this happened to me I had an active and healthy life. I was a cyclist, a brown belt in Shotokan karate, worked out regularly and never smoked or did alcohol and had a healthy diet. I hope that is some comfort to know that I will take very good care of this heart.

Right now I am working on my physical recovery and graduating from high school. My future intentions are to attend university to study engineering. Eventually I’ll be able to do the things that I used to do and will strive to realize my dreams. This is all due to having had a heart transplant. It has given me a chance to live!

Thank You,

From a grateful recipient!

Please make your organ donor wishes known.